Mark Cueto

Cheshire Life - - Sporting Life -

The for­mer Eng­land Rugby in­ter­na­tional and Sale Sharks winger lives in Hale. Af­ter hang­ing up his boots in 2015,Mark took up a po­si­tion as Sale Sharks com­mer­cial direc­tor

“It’s been a strange time for us in lots of ways and just like ev­ery­one else in the coun­try, we’ve had to try and adapt to life and do ev­ery­thing we can in the in­ter­ests of safety for our play­ers, staff and fans.

“There’s been a sus­tained pe­riod of in­vest­ment dur­ing the past few years from the club’s own­ers – Simon Orange and

Ged Ma­son – and we now boast a squad in­clud­ing Eng­land stars and World Cup win­ners ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing in do­mes­tic and Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion.

“When the lock­down started in March, we stood in sec­ond place in the Gal­lagher Premier­ship, and were pre­par­ing to play in the Premier­ship Rugby Cup fi­nal, only for that game and sport at all lev­els to be post­poned due to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

“De­spite the lack of ac­tion on the pitch, we’ve been hard at work be­hind the scenes to keep the mo­men­tum of our suc­cess­ful sea­son so far go­ing.

“One of those things is the launch of a new elite women’s team, which will play in the top women’s league – the Tyrrells Premier 15s – next sea­son. Fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of Dar­ren La­mon as head of women’s rugby, we’ve also brought in Eng­land’s World Cup-win­ning cap­tain Katy Da­leyMcLean as a player-coach to spear­head the growth of women’s rugby in the area.

“As com­mer­cial direc­tor, I usu­ally get the chance to meet with club part­ners and spon­sors at the AJ Bell Sta­dium as they en­joy hos­pi­tal­ity be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter top-flight games. “Dur­ing lock­down, we’ve stayed

to work out at spots where ‘Lock­down has also given us the chance

con­nected dig­i­tally, and it’s been fan­tas­tic to see so many we work with in the busi­ness com­mu­nity go­ing the ex­tra mile to help our NHS and key work­ers.

“From do­nat­ing ven­ti­la­tors and PPE to pro­vid­ing free trans­port, they’ve gone above and be­yond in these un­cer­tain times, and we’ve been keep­ing our fans up to date with reg­u­lar fea­tures on our club up­dates and so­cial me­dia.

“The lock­down pe­riod has also brought sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges for our play­ing squad, who have found them­selves hav­ing to train at home rather than our high-per­for­mance cen­tre in Car­ring­ton. They’ve also sup­ported iso­lated mem­bers of the com­mu­nity by mak­ing per­sonal phone calls as part of the league-wide #MakeThatCa­ll cam­paign.

“Like me, a num­ber of them live in Cheshire, and they’ve been do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to stay fit and sharp ahead of a re­turn to the sea­son, which we hope will come soon.”

Mark Cueto Ben Curry in ac­tion

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