Director of Rugby/ Head Coach: Steve Diamond
Captain: Josh Beaumont
Stadium: AJ Bell Stadium (Capacity: 12,000)
Last Season: 6th
Sale Sharks overperformed last year with a solid pack providing some quality ball for a backline lead by the maverick Danny Cipriani.
Sale despite having lost a few big names have a squad with some special players finally getting the recognition they deserve. Mike Haley and Sam James provide the excitement whilst Josh Beaumont is developing into an elite back row forward who is now captaining Sale.
Sale’s strike plays from deep make them hugely dangerous, the ability to attack at pace and without structure makes them deadly from 60-70 metres out. Sale use their pacey wingers and centres to score tries.
Sale have done exceptionally well to become such a successful club near Manchester having to compete with football and rugby league. The defence built by director of rugby Steve Diamond is excellent, they make hit after hit and can absorb pressure and work their way out of trouble.
THREE TO WATCH
Position: Number Eight Nationality: English Age: 24 Height: 2.01m Weight: 113kg
The captain is unlucky to be around at a time where Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Ben Morgan are playing. Beaumont is around the England squad and will fight his hardest as do his club to grab a place.
He will lead by example his work around the field are beneficial to the signature strike plays as he runs off the first and second receiver offering an effective crash ball carrier in the midfield.
Position: Fullback Nationality: English Age: 22 Height: 1.88m Weight: 91kg
Mike Haley is a very dangerous fullback, he can attack with loose ball and that puts him up there with the very best fullbacks in the league. Haley has an attacking mindset and it makes him the focal point for Sale.
The fullbacks also has an abrasive edge and he certainly has time on his side having only turned 22 in June.
Position: Fly-Half Nationality: American Age: 26 Height: 1.85m Weight: 95kg
MacGinty won the Pro12 with Connacht last season and with him bringing that winning mentality and also a big game mentality to the club.
The international fly-half will hope to ignite the Sharks backline and get them firing in the absence of England international Danny Cipriani. MacGinty can act as a playmaker and one of the strike runners.
Halanki Aulika (London Irish, ENG)
Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors (rugby league), ENG)
Curtis Langdon (London Irish, ENG)
Kieran Longbottom (Saracens, ENG)
AJ MacGinty (Connacht, IRE)
Bryon McGuigan (Exeter Chiefs, ENG)
Dan Mugford (Nottingham, ENG)
Laurence Pearce (Leicester Tigers, ENG)
Mike Phillips (Racing 92, FRA)
Lou Reed (Cardiff Blues, WAL)
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby, ENG)
Tom Brady (Leicester Tigers, ENG)
Danny Cipriani (Wasps, ENG)
Vadim Cobilas (Bordeaux Begles, FRA)
Chris Cusiter (Retired, RET)
Mark Easter (Retired, RET)
Viliami Fihaki (Edinburgh Rugby, SCO)
Joe Ford (Yorkshire Carnegie, ENG)
Phil Mackenzie (San Diego Breakers, USA)
Nick Macleod (Dragons, WAL)
Tommy Taylor (Wasps, ENG)
The signing of MacGinty is huge, he couples playmaking with serious pace and will be key to Sale’s play off chances. The recruitment of Aulika, Longbottom and Webber in itself is a frightening front row they add depth to Sale. Phillips is also a massive coup for the northern powerhouse. And as for Charnley…Jason Robinson comes to mind.
The loss of English duo Taylor and Danny Cipriani will be big misses. Chris Cusiter brings his illustrious career to a close having represented his country 70 times and the Lions on one occasion. Tom Brady heading to Leicester depletes the wingers slightly, and losing Macleod sees the club have few playmakers left.
My Sale Sharks 23
15 Mike Haley 14 Tom Arscott 13 Johnny Leota 12 Sam James 11 Nev Edwards 10 AJ MacGinty 9 Peter Stringer
1 Ross Harrison 2 Rob Webber 3 Brian Mujati 4 George Nott 5 Lou Reed 6 David Seymour 7 TJ Ioane 8 Josh Beaumont
16 Neil Briggs 17 James Flynn 18 Halani Aulika 19 Andrei Ostrikov 20 Magnus Lund 21 Mike Phillips 22 Will Addison 23 Josh Charnley
Sale’s squad has very few star players. They do have a team that compliments each other and I believe a stronger team than last year, then again who does not this season will see them challenge for Champions Cup rugby.