Sale Sharks Summer BBQ | Steve Diamond, Marland Yarde and more preview 2019/20 season!
We attended the Annual Sale Sharks Summer BBQ last weekend as the club unveiled their new kits for the 19/20 season and the squad previewed the year ahead. The side have just finished their sixth week of pre-season, with only a month to go now until their opening fixture against Northampton Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup. DOR, Steve Diamond gave an update on where the team are at in terms of their preparation:
“We’re at that learning bit, we’ve not had much contact and I don’t anticipate that just yet. The risk and reward element of taking injuries in training, I’m not prepared to risk. we’ll hopefully get them game ready and then the Premiership Cup we’ll start smacking (full contact) people”
The new season will prove difficult for many of the top Premiership clubs with both the World Cup and Six Nations taking away many top international players at key stages of the season. However, Sale have invested incredibly well to make sure their side is reinforced and prepared for these periods, with Robert Du Preez returning to the side on a permanent deal after impressing on loan last year whilst his brothers and fellow Springbok internationals, Jean Luc and Dan have also joined on long term deals. Steve discussed how the range of signings are another highlight of the change in direction the club has been making in the past few years in terms of recruitment:
“We do the recruitment process and hopefully we pick people who fit in and deliver, we’ve not always had that ability to do that. We always took either people who are at the end of their career or had issues with discipline and we managed to straighten them out. Now, virtually everyone who has come on board is high pedigree, they’re fit, mid 20s, ambitious and have joined the vision of trying to make it a really successful club”
Jono Ross will be leading the lads onto the field again in his second season as captain and he shed light on what the experience of balancing friendships alongside stern discussions with his teammates has been like over the last 12 months:
“Sometimes you have to put Rugby and the team first and put aside those be popular decisions. I also think last year I took on a bit much so this year I’ll delegate it a bit more and that’s good because there are a group of leaders and senior figures in the squad who are able to take some of that stress on their shoulders. I really enjoy the role I have, I thrive under it and I’m looking forward to the season ahead”
Aside from the marquee international signings, this summer has also seen a number of promising academy graduates join the senior squad in pre-season and Jono believes this depth of talent in the side can only raise individual performances:
“I think with the competition that’s come in, it drives you to be a better player, everyone wants to play. I think it’s going to be a battle to see who’s getting those positions in the starting 23, the great thing now is we’ve got more quality in depth which will allow us to rotate more so the players won’t be so jaded. The academy boys who’ve come in have really set the standard of our training”
Someone that will definitely feel like a new signing this season is explosive winger, Marland Yarde, who missed nearly all of last season due to a devastating knee injury. The return of Yarde will add further firepower to an already electric attacking side that includes the likes of Denny Solomona and Chris Ashton. The 26-year-old described what it’s been like training with the squad for the first time in 10 months:
“Firstly, it’s been difficult on my lungs! Having not played for 9-10 months now, it’s been a tough ask especially in that first week. I started doing a lot of running mechanics and strength work but nothing what the other players were doing. Nothing you’re doing actually prepares you for the running with the rugby so I was kind of put straight back into that which is great actually because it allowed me to adjust to that as quick as possible. I’m in a position now where I’m moving really well, my fitness is a lot better than it’s been and I’m feeling good on the field”
With fan favourites reappearing and new signings coming through, the excitement for the season ahead is growing by the day but Steve Diamond ensures that it is important to take this journey one week at a time:
“If we look at it like the Grand National, we don’t look at the last fence as the winning fence, you’ve got to take the first one and that’s what we’ll do. Every game we’ll take as it comes and we’ll try to build momentum and momentum’s a wonderful thing in sport, if we can get that and keep the confidence up then who knows where we can go”
Team Morson will be supporting the Sharks every step of the way this year and we wish all the lads in the remaining weeks of pre-season.