Updated: Monday, 15th July 2019 @ 5:58pm

Comment: One-club man Mark Cueto deserves Sale Sharks admiration after sticking with club through thick and thin

Comment: One-club man Mark Cueto deserves Sale Sharks admiration after sticking with club through thick and thin

By Alan Ross

One club men are something of a rarity in modern day professional sports which makes Mark Cueto an exception to the norm.

A few days after the confirmation that two promising youngsters were leaving Sale Sharks, Cueto penned a deal to see out his career at Sale.

While it is disappointing for Sale fans that Henry Thomas and James Gaskell are moving on it only serves to highlight further Cueto’s contribution to the club.

The fact that Bryan Redpath, then Sale’s scrum half, now their Head Coach and Pete Anglesea, current academy transition manger, were both in the same team as Cueto for his debut back in 2001 is quite remarkable.

Though sports fans try to cling onto romantic notions about a player’s loyalty to the club that they live and die with it is largely fantasy.

But in a thoroughly professional world it is refreshing to see such sentiment still does exist for some.

Despite Cueto having considered retirement due to a knee problem at the end of a torrid season last year, Sale’s Director of Rugby, Steve Diamond, believes the veteran winger is enjoying a new lease of life at the club.

The former England international has re-found his form this year scoring seven tries in fifteen appearances and it is a joy to see him enjoying his rugby.

When Frank, as he is known, first came into the Sharks’ line-up he played alongside future Lions superstar Jason Robinson and fellow Cumbrian Steve Hanley forming a formidable back three.

Indeed, it is testament to the opening running rugby that Sale played in the early 2000s that Hanley and Cueto topped the try scoring charts for so long with Cueto passing his teammate’s all time record of 75 tries in 2013.

The total now stands at 84 with Sharks’ fans no doubt hoping that the 34-year-old can add a few more yet to stretch his lead further over Hanley.

Over the years there have surely been opportunities for him to leave Sale, especially since the 2009-10 season when they finished 11th, as the Sharks have looked light-years from ever getting back to the heights of the 2006 Premiership winning side.

So it is a testament to the man with 55 England caps that he decided to stay put through a time that was definitely more thin than thick.

Sale have looked much improved this season with their defence shored up thanks to Mike Forshaw, a little spark from Danny Cipriani at fly-half and a forward pack able to take on all comers.

While the Sharks are probably destined for a mid-table finish after their horrible campaign last season any improvement on that will be looked upon favourably.

With progress through to the quarter final stage of the Amlin Challenge Cup secured by a gutsy performance in the Basque country, Sale and Cueto have the opportunity to claim their third title at that level.

No matter how this season ends fans will be delighted by the prospect of Cueto running in more tries from the wing and thankful for the years he has spent at the club.

Image courtesy of Emirates, with thanks.

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