Sale ........................33 Glasgow.......................10

GLASGOW'S European adventure is just three weeks away, and the learning curve brought them their sternest test when they took on Sale in a heatwave in Manchester.

They will take some satisfaction from starting and finishing the afternoon's scoring sequence, but they lacked the skill to even mildly disturb the top acts they could meet on the European stage.

It was not for the want of trying that Glasgow had to finish second best against a side that reached the English Cup final last season.

One could not fault their commitment, but the truth was that Sale possess rather more ammunition - including All Blacks Simon Mannix and Shane Howarth and two Welshmen toughened in Rugby League's factory, Adrian Hadley and Kevin Ellis.

The main problem facing the Scots was penetration. There was nothing wrong with their philosophy of trying to run the ball, but they lacked the players to do so.

What heart Glasgow could take from this performance was that they made Sale work very hard to gain the upper hand. Glasgow were certainly more purposeful and cohesive in the early stages, and it took them only three minutes to get on to the scoreboard.

A well-constructed attack forced Sale lock Chris Murphy to stray offside at a ruck and fly-half Cammie Little had no problem with a penalty from almost in front of the posts.

Glasgow continued to play the better rugby in the opening spell, but then the game turned scrappy and there was little to enthuse about, even though the Glasgow back row of Murray Wallace, David McLeish, and Iain Sinclair gelled the better.

Unfortunately, all the huffing and puffing didn't bring the needed breakthrough for the Scots and, by half time, Sale had eased into a 14-3 lead.

Both sides rang the changes so often in the second half that it was difficult for either to retain a discernible pattern, although that's when Sale enjoyed something of a purple patch.

In the end, Glasgow had to soak up too much pressure, despite very sound tackling, from full back Craig Sangster.

It was a case of never say die, however, and Glasgow swept forward confidently in the closing moments for replacement scrum half Jamie Weston to turn inside and carve through Sale's defence for a well-deserved try, converted by Little.

Scorers - Sale: Tries: Beim (3), Erskine, Mannix. Goals: Mannix (4 con). Glasgow: Tries: Weston. Goals: Little (1 con, 1 pen).

Sale - J Mallinder (captain); C Yates, J Baxendell, A Hadley, T Beim; S Mannix, R Smith; P Smith, S Diamond, A Smith, C Murphy, D Baldwin, P Sanderson, D Erskine, D O'Grady. Replacements: S Howarth, K Ellis, D Williamson, M Driver, M Kirk, A Morris.

Glasgow - C Sangster; D Stark, A Bulloch, I Jardine, G Metcalfe; C Little, F Stott; G Isaac, G Bulloch (captain), G McIlwham, M Norval, G Perrett, M Wallace, D McLeish, I Sinclair. Replacements: C Docherty, F Wallace, C Simmers, J McLaren, M McGrandles, J Craig, D Ablett, G Mackay, C Afuakwah, A Perrie, J Weston.

Referee - G Hughes (Manchester).