Sale Sharks director of rugby Philippe Saint Andre wasn't sure that his players could raise their game high enough twice in the space of a week to mark their return to the Heineken Cup with a home win over Munster...
But the European Challenge Cup winners proved their 18-10 domestic win over London Wasps last weekend was no fluke as they battered their Pool 1 Irish rivals into submission in front of a record crowd at Edgeley Road to send out a chilling message of intent to the rest of the sides in the tournament that they mean business.
"I'm very pleased to win the first game. I wans't sure that we could to this two weekends in a row after beating Wasps, but the players really showed what they are capable of," said Saint Andre after his side's 27-13 victory.
"The conditions were very bad and it was difficult to paly a wide game. That what we wanted to do, but it was impossible on the night.
"We had to be patient and I thought Charlie Hodgson managed the game very well for us. We are a more mature side this season and we might well have lost that game in the past."
Heineken Man of the Match Sebastien Chabal said the players had identified three home wins, and away victories at Castres Olympique and Newport-Gwent Dragons, as the minimum requirement to win the Pool and reach the last eight. Denying Munster a bonus point made it an even better start.
"It was a great, great win for us. It was our first game in the competition and we needed to show the other teams that we aren't just in it for fun, but to do something," said Chabal.
"Even though we were behind at half-time we were in control of the game. We had 70% possession, but a few silly mistakes allowed Munster to take the lead.
"This is a very difficult group and at the start of the season we said we needed to win all our home games and at least two away from home to win the Pool - that's still the target. After this, I'm sure we can win the Pool."
Munster skipper Anthony Foley admitted his team's backs are immediatley against the wall and he will be calling on his players for an even bigger and braver effort when they travel to Castres next weekend.
"Sale turned us at every available opportunity and made the most of our mistakes. They certainly proved they are a good side and, hopefully, we can prove we are a good side at Castres next weekend," said Foley.
"The 10 points they scored when Frank Sheahan was in the sin-bin were crucial, although both their tries were silly, soft scores from our perspective. I have to hold my hand up for the first one."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.