Sale Sharks
File:Sale sharks badge.png
Full nameSale Sharks Rugby Union Football Club
LocationStockport, England
Ground(s)Edgeley Park (Capacity: 10,852)
ChairmanNiels de Vos
Coach(es)France Philippe Saint-André
League(s)Guinness Premiership
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Sale Sharks are a professional rugby union team who play in England in the Guinness Premiership. They are the current Champions of England.

The club is an offshoot of Sale F.C., which is based in Sale, Greater Manchester, but Sharks currently play in Stockport at Edgeley Park, ground sharing with Stockport County F.C..

Part of the process of creating a rugby union team to represent the North West region has been in the development of a strong academy. Through their junior team The Jets (Presumably named to go alongside The Sharks as a reference to West Side Story) , the club has developed many talented home-grown players, including; Steve Hanley, Mark Cueto, Dean Schofield, Chris Jones, Andy Titterrell and Charlie Hodgson.


The club was founded in 1861 and is one of the oldest clubs in English rugby history. Throughout their history they have been one of the leading rugby union clubs in the North of England.

Sale were unbeaten in 26 matches winning 24 and drawing two in 1911.

Sale's first English representative was Pat Davies in 1927. The club has consistently provided international players and, during the 1930s, had one of its most dominant periods, fielding players of the calibre of Hal Sever (England), Claude Davey and Wilfred Wooller (Wales) and Ken Fyfe (Scotland). It came as little surprise when they took out the 1936 Middlesex Sevens.

Sale ruled the roost in county cup rugby for 15 straight seasons as they went unbeaten from 1972 to 1987 in every one of those cup fixtures. During this period, Sale competed for the chance to be English club champions. In their first year, one after the inaugural competition kicked off in 1971, they made the semi-finals only to lose to eventual winners Coventry 35-6.

During the nineties, despite thrilling displays under Paul Turner, and his successor John Mitchell, both club and ground struggled to keep a grip on the demanding commercial and financial realities of running a professional rugby club.

Sale took 20,000 fans to Twickenham for the 1997 Pilkington Cup Final but Leicester won a mistaken ridden match 9-3. This interest quickly faded and the anticipated increased crowds never materialised and relegation from the Premier Division loomed until rugby union-playing local businessman Brian Kennedy came to the rescue, late in the 1999-2000 season. Since then, the club has been on a sound financial footing.

Off the field, Peter Deakin was recruited from Warrington Wolves rugby league as Chief Executive to employ the skills he had used with the Bradford Bulls and Saracens and he made an immediate impact in raising the club's profile until hit by the serious illness which claimed his life in February 2003.

Success was not immediate; Sale Sharks finished eleventh and tenth in the 12-strong Premiership table in the first two years of the new Millennium. It took the coaching partnership of two former Sale players, Jim Mallinder and Steve Diamond, to produce a team that were 2002 runners-up and qualified for the Heineken Cup.

Player signings matched the elevated profile of the club. Scotland skipper Bryan Redpath was joined by Stuart Pinkerton, Barry Stewart, Graeme Bond, Jason White and Andrew Sheridan. The club then turned to the wealth of talent, hitherto largely untapped, in Rugby League. Apollo Perelini, known as "The Terminator" for his uncomprimising style, joined Sale Sharks the day after helping St Helens to victory in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford and the media had a field day when Jason Robinson, possibly the most exciting wing in the world in either code, moved to Sale from Wigan Warriors.

In 2002 the team also went on to capture the Parker Pen Shield at Oxford's Kassam Stadium, defeating Pontypridd 25-22.

During the close season of 2003, the company Cheshire Sports had been created, with The Sharks moving to share the Stockport County F.C. pitch at Edgeley Park. The all-seater capacity of over ten thousand, the enhanced entertaining facilities and the broadcast-quality floodlights emphasised the potential which Heywood Road could never have provided; however, the club still uses Heywood Road for reserve and under-21 matches.

The early months of 2004 saw the departure of Steve Diamond and later Jim Mallinder, and the arrival of ex-French International and former Gloucester and Bourgoin coach, Philippe Saint-André as Director of Rugby from the start of the 2004-5 season.

On the field, the international profile has been extended with the addition to the squad of Sebastien Chabal and Sebastien Bruno.

In the season which followed the Sale Sharks won their second European Challenge Cup at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, with a convincing 27-3 victory over French side Pau, two tries by Charlie Hodgson and one each by Mark Cueto and Andy Titterell ending the season in style. The game saw Sale say goodbye to two club legends, Bryan Redpath and Jos Baxendell, who announced their retirement from rugby after the game.

The 2005 British Lions tour to New Zealand included six Sharks players, and with crowds now topping 10,000 on a regular basis, Sale Sharks are the North West's most successful and highest profile rugby union club and one of the top sides in Europe. They finished on top of the ladder of the 2005-06 Guinness Premiership, and went on to win the final, where they defeated the Leicester Tigers 45 to 20 at a rainy Twickenham. They became the first side to finish at the top of the league, to then go on and win in the semi-final and final to become the champions.


Following their 2006 Guinness Premiership success, the Sale Sharks unveiled a new look kit for the 2006-07 season. The new kit further highlights shark qualities compared to the old one. The shoulders feature a fin design, with the torso has three slashes to represent the gills and teeth of a shark. The home and away kits are white and black, inverted. The Kit was highly controversial as it neglected to display the year that sale fc was set up which was 1861. Many fans boycotted the kit or had their own 1861 emblem added.

2007 Injury Crisis

After the success of the 2005/06 season many at the club had hoped for a repeat and with a strong squad boosted by several quality players including England Saxons centre Chris Bell, Former Wales prop Ben Evans and Argentina flanker Juan Fernandez Lobbe it seemed likely. However over the autumn months an injury crisis began with the loss of Scotland capain Jason White to a knee injury whilst playing against Romania. More bad news followed with England fly half Charlie Hodgson and England prop Andrew Sheridan falling to knee and ankle injuries respectively. More and more injuries were picked up over the following months until Sale were left with only 17 of a 38 man squad fit to play in their final Heineken cup match against the Ospreys. (Source: Sale sharks website)

Current England elite squad

Other internationals

Former players

Club honours

Individual honours

Guinness Premiership Table 2006/07

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