#27168
Thought it might be good for the board to have somewhere for idle speculation, half-truths, or, if we're lucky, informed speculation!
Although WGJ is confirmed as leaving, from what I can gather there are a few expiries - namely Rohan, Manu, McGuigan, Phillips and Beaumont. Some pretty big names there!
My decisions would be as follows...
Rohan
On the face of it, this is a no-brainer - keep! Our backplay is significantly reliant on him and, alongside Manu he's our best carrier. However, he's had significant injury problems and I hardly imagine he's on a small salary. If salary allows, I'd still keep him though.
Manu
Keep for 1 year. Rotate with Rohan and don't overplay him.
McGuigan
This is where things get tricky. He's been absolutely superb for us but if there's one thing we tend to agree on, it's that our backline lacks pace. In an ideal world, I'd keep him, but I think we need a winger with top-end gas and we may have to take the tricky decision not to renew his contract. He's unfortunate that his contract is up when the other wingers' aren't.
Phillips
Has done a great job for us, but we're overstocked at second row and Poss offers a homegrown, younger version. A reluctant departure.
Beaumont
100% keep. Extremely impressive since coming back and for my money is ahead of Wiese in the race to partner Lood. Can't be underestimated the effect he's had on the lineout. He's also captained us in the past and with Ross proving a liability at the minute, maybe it could happen again?

Other Thoughts
Tighthead
This is an area of real concern for me. WGJ is our only reliable tighthead and he's leaving. Ooisthuizen is a penalty magnet and is nowhere near as dominant in the scrum as I'd have hoped and JCW has been a huge disappointment - I remember Dimes saying something about refs finding ways to penalise him at the scrum, have there been some new rules which he's falling foul of? Anyway, we need a top-class option there next season. With Rodd showing incredible promise, a dominant Tight Head is imperative to support him on the other side. Harper is highly regarded but realistically probably a season off regular gametime.

Captaincy
Some difficult decisions to be made. On the excellent Shark Tank Podcast I seem to recall they correctly said he was a great captain for Dimes when we were an underdog - uncompromising, astonishing durability/workrate allied with an aggressive edge. I've long believed although he's a great leader, he's not a great captain - these are two different things. His rapport with referees is poor and he frequently gets sin-binned himself. Top sides do not have a captain like this - they may have players like this but not a captain.
With this in mind I'd give it to Ben Curry, perhaps Beaumont. Tom Curry would also be an option but with his international commitments just wouldn't be here enough.

The Back Division
Frankly, it's an absolute shambles. Consistent linebreaks from first phase are a distant memory and there's a good argument that the only ones currently in form are AJ, Yarde and Luke James. Everyone else is underperforming and there were times during the Northampton game when we didn't look like we had a clue how we were trying to attack. 'Backs moves' consisting of blindly shovelling the ball to the winger without committing a man, players way behind the gainline when getting the ball. These are symptomatic of poor coaching which puts Deacon firmly under the spotlight.
For some time now we've been over-reliant on physicality from the forwards. Our backplay has long lacked any kind of penetration. One bonus point all season is absolutely shocking and indicative of our complete inability to put teams away when we're on top. Worryingly, even though Rohan and Manu are out we seem completely unable to adapt and play differently.
With that being said, our backline is incredibly one-paced and makes it difficult to create mismatches. I wouldn't say any of our back three would be anywhere near the top 10 quickest players in the league. Only Denny would trouble that and he's not 100% at the minute. The lack of top-end pace isn't a huge problem if our structured play is good, but as it's so poor the lack of gamebreakers is killing us. A quick winger would be a priority for me.
Finally, if there isn't a marked improvement in this area by the end of the season, I'd bring in a new attacking coach.

Blimey! I really didn't plan on writing that much but that's what a day off with little else to do will do to you! Feel free to tear my observations apart :lol
Olyy, DaveAitch, SixNineOne liked this
#27171
Tighthead is a really awkward position - as you said: WGJ is comfortably our best option, but is leaving.
Oosthuizen's signing looks like Dimes' biggest mistake, in hindsight - will be on a serious salary, but without the performances to match

I'd be looking to bring in Koch next season (if available? there's rumours but I don't know his contract situation) and then, hopefully, promote from within over the course of that season (Harper? Ford?) to become 2nd choice and learn from Koch
#27173
Agreed 3 is looking tricky with WGJ leaving and the other 2 underperforming. Koch is a really good call and ease the other 2 out when possible (or see if JCW can fare better if we do change forwards coach).

Harrison also seems to be struggling somewhat, hopefully just taking time getting back from injury.
#27184
I don’t want to come across too provocative but think the coaching team has run its course, Sanderson needs a total clear out and appoint his own team. The squad is decent enough to compete in the top half of the table but they’re going nowhere.

We’re also suffering from over-exposure with the blanket TV coverage. I hate to say it but even if we won the league and the Champions Cup I doubt I’d get a season ticket right now, my 8 year old has totally lost interest, I doubt he’d want another one either. Rugby is just becoming duller as an entertainment spectacle; it’s not confined to Sale. With that and increasing head injury concerns I can’t see how anyone currently under the age of 16 would ever get interested in the sport, anyway, I digress.
#27185
Great post.

You say AJ is one of the form players but our back play is shocking and we can’t commit defenders and pass. The 10 controls and starts all that. But don’t want to hijack your thread with that conversation and AJ is playing well.

Reed is very quick so we just need to start putting him in space. I’m very much in the bring through youth camp. Bryon has been a great servant but I think him moving on makes sense. Wouldn’t complain if he’s retained of course.

I think JCW needs to be judged again under Sanderson before forming a judgement. Coenie will leave when his contract expires im sure. The level and quantity of TH needed depends on Wooley and the ability of Harper. If he’s another Rodd that makes life easier! We still need to sign someone and personally I think we should be spending pretty big.

Manu depends on who’s available. I think taking a punt for another year has merit as long as it doesn’t prevent us signing someone else in the backline due to financial constraints. We need to sign another massive 12 to cover for Rohan but they don’t come cheap.

As I’ve said before we have underinvested in the backs and are reaping the consequences. We haven’t replaced Addison so I think priority no 1 is to find a game changing outside back. Lozowski is a potential.

As for coaching I’m reluctant to blame Deacon has I believe there are other issues. Happy to be proven wrong. Think West is more in the firing line as our expensive pack doesn’t deliver as it should. I wouldn’t be against changing both coaches and starting fresh. Not sure how good Wiggy would be as a backs coach as he’s not exactly proven.

As for hooker I’m confused. Someone must be leaving.

Ale. I don’t think rugby is dull. We are but the other games I watch over the weekend are far better.

I assume you don’t mean Forshaw when you mean total clear out?!!

Nothing wrong with being provocative.
#27186
ale shark wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:02 pm
I don’t want to come across too provocative but think the coaching team has run its course, Sanderson needs a total clear out and appoint his own team. The squad is decent enough to compete in the top half of the table but they’re going nowhere.
I think West and Deacon should probably be replaced, but Forshaw needs to stay. Our defence is, for my money, the best in the league.
#27189
If Lozowski becomes available again then - to contradict myself in what I've said in other threads about wanting to see RDP and/or AJM at 12 - I think that’s exactly the sort of 12 we need in order to have a more balanced attack than we currently have. Would like to keep Rohan and Tuilagi if we can but wouldn’t be surprised to see us opt out of spending the money on Tuilagi. Hill, I’m sorry but I don’t think we can justify him being picked ahead of Luke James or even Doherty in the centre, or Wilko/Curtis at 10 with AJM/RDP at 12; so he should go.

Would like to see JCW given the chance to rectify his form as IMHO he’s shown enough to suggest that he’s willing and able to get it together.

Surprised that we signed Tommy Taylor. Suspect that means we’ll lose either Ashman to a Scottish side or Akker to save money. Personally, though would miss Akker’s stunning stuff in the loose, think letting Akker go would make the most sense given his struggles at the set piece.
#27192
45jumper wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:18 pm
I think West and Deacon should probably be replaced, but Forshaw needs to stay. Our defence is, for my money, the best in the league.
Don't know, everything is just so stale, needs a thorough freshen up, a clear out from the Diamond Days.

He's been a great servant to the club but every time I see Pete Anglesea running onto the pitch as a waterboy it just makes me wonder what is going on and where we're going.
#27207
I wonder if too much time has been spent organising defensive ploys in and so the attack minded coaches haven't had the input that that they would have liked. I do think in many sports that when a player/team gets into a defensive mindset it becomes difficult to break out of it and possibilities which do arise aren't taken. The opposite is certainly true in cricket, where almost no one seems able to bore the opposition (and spectators) to death a la Boycott, because they bat more aggressively in most versions of the game.
#27217
DaveAitch wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:47 pm
I wonder if too much time has been spent organising defensive ploys in and so the attack minded coaches haven't had the input that that they would have liked. I do think in many sports that when a player/team gets into a defensive mindset it becomes difficult to break out of it and possibilities which do arise aren't taken. The opposite is certainly true in cricket, where almost no one seems able to bore the opposition (and spectators) to death a la Boycott, because they bat more aggressively in most versions of the game.
... and, in consequence, we get test matches that are over in two days.
P51b liked this
#27240
That was particularly what I had In mind. A day-night game, so perfect timing for us to watch on TV, and we saw very little actual cricket. Incidentally, quite a good series between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe where some of the batsmen showed how to construct a long innings. An undefeated 200 scored by Shahidi a 160 by ?, and a 150 by Williams in reply (which I think was also undefeated). Okay, maybe the bowling isn't as good but it still takes considerable concentration to carry your bat that long

Can we stay on-topic, please? - Ed
#27246
More so than personnel changes - for me - the biggest question is what our tactics are.

From a backs point of view if it's within our half then we box-kick and rely on a good kick chase or an opposition error to gain territory.

Between the half way line and the oppo 22 - we generally tend to have AJ do cross field or Sam doing grubber kicks as we can't break down a line defence unless Rohan is around

If we get involved in kicking battle then we tend to lose out so if we continue this tactic having players who can kick well would be a priority

If we want to play a bit more with ball in hand then we defo need a bit more pace and creativity - over the seasons we've lost the likes of Addison, Haley, O'Connor and Ashton who all offered a 'threat'

Scrum also seems to be quite creaky these days with pens conceded

I would let Akker go - he's a liability throwing in and Langdon/Ashman just look super

Final one - and to echo the thoughts of an earlier poster - the way Sale have played this season hasn't been entertaining. When COVID finally ends and despite our top 4 place I can't see neutrals being attracted to watch the team. It's hard enough to watch as a die-hand fan
#28298
9 is an interesting one now.

With Quirke vying for the starting jersey with Faf, we'd be very well positioned with Cliff as third choice. His style is a nice contrast to Faf and Raff's. But would keeping Cliff stifle Gus Warr. Warr has always looked very promising to me in the limited game time he's had.

Or, is it Faf that might be moving on in the next couple of seasons (presume that would free up significant salary) to allow Raffi to take his place as out and out first choice; Cliff and Warr both getting plenty of game time behind him.

Or, could all 4 get the game time they need whilst all of their wages being justifiable in covering one shirt.
#28300
I can see Faf staying at least until next season (2023 contracted I think but they’re often optional final years). Raf is definitely the next incumbent. Warr, we haven’t seen much of recently. Whereas Raf has packed on the muscle Warr seems tiny in comparison so could be a problem for first team rugby. Cliff will either go at then or this season or the next.
#28313
Didn’t Axe recently say he’s not in the market for new players and is looking to bring through the academy graduates to fill any gaps? Heard rumours re Lozowski coming and wouldn’t be surprised if tighthead being looked at, but otherwise may not see much change. I’d like to see all those out of contract re-sign (though think Phillips will move or retire), including Manu, and see how Axe gets on over a full season with that team.
Also been told from inside the club that no hooker is leaving and all 4 will be part of the rotation policy for next season, which will be the core to Axe’s approach. Think it’s a sign that Axe is treating the Premiership and Europe on an equal footing.
#28316
4 is some pretty hefty rotation. If we have 4 hookers we surely need 4 props which means signing a few props.

I agree with his general approach but we need a TH and ideally need to try and find some more pace in the 3/4
#28317
If Josh is out of contract then I'd give him a blank cheque and the captain's armband (if he wants it permanently)
He's not as eye catching as Lood but he's been quietly incredibly effective since return from injury
#28366
No one is worth a blank check. I know it’s a turn of phrase but if Josh wanted to be the highest paid player for Sale for example I’d be waving him across the channel if I was the owners.

Josh is a glue in the ointment type player. You forget how important he is. We will definitely keeping him. No one will be leaving soon under Sanderson I doubt.

In terms of future signings that result will do us so much good. Beat La Rochelle and we anyone would be wanting to come and play for us.
#28380
I imagine we will be looking to keep Byron, Rohan and Josh. Bit of a no brainer. Josh probably needs to be on field captain if he can stay fit. I dont get the comment about not keeping Byron as we arent stocked at winger with Denny's issues, we didnt replace Ashton and neither Reed or Roebuck are anywhere near a regular starting place at the moment. If we aspire to be a top 4 team would you be happy with Reed and Roebuck as either a) a starting winger opposite Marland or b) first up if Marland is injured? For me they aren't but happy to be convinced otherwise. I would actually like us to sign a winger with a bit of x factor. We all saw the rumours re Thorley (not sure how real and not convinced he is all that if I am honest) but wouldnt mind us signing a winger.

Hopefully with a fit FDK and Rohan we will see better performance from both AJ and Sam and our backline will start to function. If we can keep Manu he does offer that extra x factor but his (and Rohan's) injury record isnt great. Hill hasnt been great but think Doherty is definitely an option next season as our 4th centre in the squad.

I agree Phillips might be off but what a great squad player he has been. Think the jury is out on Poss who has had a lot of gametime but not alongside LDJ or Josh. He does some good things and then lets himself down. Big season for him next year. He is definitely a 100% er and hopefully he can get that consistency.

We need to TH to replace WGJ. I suspect Coenie is here next season and dont forget we originally signed him as a 'swing' prop to cover both sides. The emergence of Rodd and Morozov and injury to JCW meant we have seen him at 3. We will have JCW back so I wonder if we won't go big signing at TH but add to the mix and have three decent (regardless of pay packet) tightheads rather than go for someone like Koch (as between him and Coenie I suspect thats a lot of salary cap).
#28381
Really want to see some more pace brought in, really like the look of Nick David at Worcester and know Quins are sniffing around him - would be worth a punt. This doesn’t mean losing Byron - who has shown his worth massively in the last few games. His sheer work rate is unbelievable and he is so important to our defence, his timing is excellent.

Need some additional TH cover as JCW injury prone and Oosthuizen not up for it. Harper will feature a lot more but we can’t put that much pressure on him. Either Koch, potentially go for Jamal Ford Robinson? We need a TH who can scrummage but also keep up with the defensive physicality we bring. Although it might be that we trust JCW / Coenie / Harper next season with a view to replacing one the year after.
#28382
RugbyMarvel wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:28 am
potentially go for Jamal Ford Robinson? We need a TH who can scrummage
Not sure these two things really gel together

Do agree that a scrummaging tighthead should be top of our priorities list, though

Some extra pace in the backs would be nice, too - we have a lot of promising youngsters but (as mentioned above) not sure how close they are to being genuine starters atm

It's a shame the LV= cup got scrapped as it means Roebuck/Reed/Doherty don't have as much opportunity to get game time/progress this season,
Then again look at Hassell-Collins and Loader, at Irish - both 22 (same as Reed), both shown a lot of faith by the Irish coaching staff, and two of the most exciting wings in the country now.
#28383
Think that’s harsh on Reed Stevene. He’s looked good this season when he’s played. Roebuck doesn’t look quite ready but I’d be happy with Reed as a 4th choice. Don’t think Doherty for example is any further ahead for example. They have both played well and struggled.

Having said that we need more time to see them. Playing well against an out of sorts LI isn’t the best indicator.
#28396
perhaps clutch but just not convinced by Reed. Doesnt have enough x factor for me to overcome his size which means teams will target him. Time will tell and I could well be wrong.

Conversely on the sparse game time I have seen of Doherty he is someone who I feel could well be someone to step up. Again I could be wrong!
#28397
Think we need to be a little careful on the wish for extra speed at the back that it doesn’t adversely impact our strongest area of competitive advantage which is currently our team defence.

I’m surprised that Yarde is a part of that but he certainly is, and even Sam J who we’ve said is vulnerable to pace has been very solid in our defensive line. The only players I could pick out as a defensive issue this season really would be Sam Hill, RdP when at 13, and Denny.

Worc for example have been extremely porous, Irish too, but both teams have exciting and fast back 3 talent. I guess it’s hard to know how much it’s the player and how much the team / system.
#28399
Have been very impressed by Reed in the two games he had last month. He's definitely got the turn of pace and top end speed to do well, plus is generally sharp 'both sides of the ball'.

The biggest thing for me was that he looked really good in the air (again, both in attack and defence) which suggests he's worked hard at making a relative strength of his game from something that (I doubt) comes particularly naturally to him. I think that shows he could go quite a bit further in the game than a few on here are suggesting.

Unless someone leaves that we aren't expecting to then I can't see an argument for making many signings at all. Yes a top-end TH if available and possibly a high quality, ball playing 12. Apart from that, I'm much more interested in seeing more of the young players that we've seen and talked about this season.

Agree about Beaumont as captain.
#28419
Not necessarily speed. I know I bang on about it. More acceleration and explosivity in attack. Jason Robinson wasnt especially quick at full speed.

I suppose Sarries have won the odd trophy without a gluttony of players who can conjure something out of nothing. Lots of good wingers who do the basics very well.

I do think it’s a lot about mentality instilled by the coaches. The French teams have exciting game changing wingers. Not sure Kolbe’s defence is great!!

Time will tell after this season. Hard to thing sensibly after last week but push come to shove I don’t think our backline is quite good enough in attack to win tight games against opposition who gain parity up front.

Chiefs have Cordero, O Flaherty and Slade for example.

Still think we should be sniffing around RL for some young talent. It’s relatively low risk for a back 3 player if you get them young.
#28643
StalyShark wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 pm
Schonert would fit the bill with his scrummaging, age profile but he’s injured a lot as far as I know. I’d rather we didn’t get another saffa though (he is one). Any Moldovan wrestlers going?
He’s EQP though isn’t he? Not that it matters now...
#28683
My guess is a Manu re-signing - the red rose being the hint

Though maybe it's a different England capped player?
Kieran Brookes is rumoured to be leaving Wasps at the end of the season - Toulon was the club mentioned, but the French clubs seem to be cutting back on their wage bills atm
Local(ish) lad, as well - from Stoke but played for Fylde before going pro (guessing he knows Josh, in that case?)
#28684
Olyy wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:17 pm
My guess is a Manu re-signing - the red rose being the hint

Though maybe it's a different England capped player?
Kieran Brookes is rumoured to be leaving Wasps at the end of the season - Toulon was the club mentioned, but the French clubs seem to be cutting back on their wage bills atm
Local(ish) lad, as well - from Stoke but played for Fylde before going pro (guessing he knows Josh, in that case?)
Always injured.
#28685
Will fit in well with most of our other big signings then :mrgreen:


I'm not saying I'd sign him, btw - just trying to think of any England capped players in positions that we'd be recruiting in (unless Sinckler isn't a fan of the west country?)
#28687
Some saying Lozowski. That would be good for some pace and competition for Sam J. Also can play pretty much anywhere 10-15.

Left field guess: Carl Fearns. Eggchasers saying he’s going to Falcons but maybe (he is huge, over the sea, once a shark )...
#28689
StalyShark wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:44 pm
Some saying Lozowski. That would be good for some pace and competition for Sam J. Also can play pretty much anywhere 10-15.

Left field guess: Carl Fearns. Eggchasers saying he’s going to Falcons but maybe (he is huge, over the sea, once a shark )...


Don’t think we will be making a back row signing
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