WHO ARE THEY?
Paul Smith’s guide to Sale
MEET Sale – or, as they have been known since 1999, Sale Sharks.
Founded in 1861, Sale were one of Northern England’s leading clubs through the amateur era. They have been in English rugby’s top flight since 1994, during which time they have won a single title in 2006.
Sale have twice claimed the secondtier European Challenge Cup, in 2002 and 2005. The Premiership’s all-time top two try-scorers, Mark Cueto and Steve Hanley, are both former Sale players.
Sale left their Heywood Road home to ground-share with Stockport County at Edgley Park in 2003. They moved on again to the newly-constructed 12,000-capacity AJ Bell Stadium in Salford in 2012. Their home is shared with rugby league club Salford Red Devils.
Who’s in charge?
Sale has been owned by Cheshire businessman Brian Kennedy since 2000.
Sale’s director of rugby, Steve Diamond, played over 350 games for the club between 1989 and 2001. His coaching career also began with the Sharks, before he enjoyed spells with England Saxons and Saracens,
Having returned to Sale as a Director, Diamond put his boots back on following the departure of Tony Hanks in 2012, and has been there ever since. His assistants are former rugby league stars Paul Deacon and Mike Forshaw.
Famous former players?
Former Coventry, England and British Lions prop Fran Cotton, who also founded clothing empire Cotton Traders with another ex-Sale and England skipper Steve Smith, was a Sale stalwart.
World Cup winner Jason Robinson played most of his union at Sale, after switching codes.
Sky Sports pundit Dewi Morris had a spell with Sale, as did recent French coach Philippe St Andre. His countryman Sebastien Chabal, Argentinina’s Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Welsh scrum half Dwayne Peel and Scotland’s Brian Redpath are all notable former Sharks.
Who should we look out for on Saturday?
RFU chairman and former British Lions’ skipper Bill Beaumont’s son Josh is a hugely promising No.8 who seems set to follow his Dad into international rugby.
England fly half Danny Cipriani, who is something of a ‘Marmite’ figure, is Sale’s match-winner at fly half.
Sale will choose between a pair of veterans scrum halves in Ireland’s Peter Stringer and Scotland’s Chris Cusiter, while Canadian international and former Cov favourite Phil Mackenzie will appear on the Sale wing.
Current Wasps Simon McIntyre, James Gaskell and Rob Miller are all former Sharks. Gaskell is the youngest captain in Sale’s 154-year history while Cipriani began his career with Wasps, prior to moving abroad.
Wasps’ assistant forwards coach Andy Titterrell spent six seasons with Sale, during which he was capped by England. Centre Chris Bell appeared for both clubs and Kiwi Tony Hanks has coached both.
How are they doing this year?
Sale are unbeaten at home, thanks to a draw with Newcastle and two wins, but have lost all four games away from Salford. They are currently alongside Wasps in mid-table, and are without a league win since November 1.
Recent Wasps v Sale matches?
Sale have been something of a bogey team for Wasps in recent times, winning eight of the clubs’ last ten encounters. Dai Young’s team are also winless in their last five visits to Sale.
Sale Sharks’ biggest win came in 2010 when they beat El Salvador 97-11. However, this was the Spanish club who they faced in the European Challenge Cup rather than the South American country!
Danny Cipriani, once of Wasps now a key man for the Sharks.