• ‘Sale Sharks haven’t scratched the surface’

    Newly appointed Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson says there is plenty of potential to unlock at the Premiership club.

    Sanderson was announced on Friday as the new director of rugby at Sale Sharks, filling the vacancy left by Steve Diamond, who signed him as a schoolboy.

    The 41-year-old started his senior playing career at Sale Sharks in 1998, after playing junior rugby at local club Littleborough. He went on to make 90 appearances for the club, with his leadership qualities earning him the club captaincy.

    He then moved to Saracens in 2004 and spent 17 years in London, first as a player and then as an influential assistant coach.

    Sanderson has arrived with Sale in fourth place on the Premiership table, with ambitions of winning their first title after investing heavily in their squad, which boasts several high-profile Springboks.

    Speaking after his appointment was confirmed, Sanderson said he has no plans in the immediate term to rip things apart and start from the ground up.

    ‘I’m joining a club I know all about from my time here, but things have moved on massively since those days and the opportunity to come back home and achieve something special was just too good to turn down,’ Sanderson said.

    ‘After speaking to the owners and others at the club, it was obvious that there’s a huge amount of ambition and a real growth mindset here and that’s something that really stood out for me.

    ‘There’s a fantastic amount of talent in the squad, too – that’s clear for everyone to see – and the progress in recent years is a credit to all the players and the efforts of everyone behind the scenes. But I also believe there’s so much more potential to unlock here. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of what this club is capable of.

    ‘Moving on from Saracens was a decision I had to think long and hard about, but I just felt the time was right to start a new chapter. I learnt so much during my time there; achieved a lot and made some friends for life, but ultimately the chance to put my own stamp on things and create a legacy at Sale Sharks and for rugby in the North West is what really excited me.’

    Photo: salesharks.com

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    Dylan Jack