Sale Sharks’ signing of Josh Charnley highlights how fortunate the Manchester side are to be the only Premiership club in the northwest, says Will Addison.
Charnley (above right) will join Sale from rugby league outfit Wigan Warriors in the autumn once the super league season is over, just as the Sharks will be well into another gruelling fixture list.
Addison – in good form of late as Sale push for a top six spot to guarantee top flight European action next season – says the proximity of so much rugby talent across both codes of the sport is something his side can cash in on.
“There is such a hotbed of talent we have to choose from, so it’s great we can resource from Wigan and they can look at us,” Addison told MM ahead of Saturday’s crucial away clash with bottom club London Irish.
“It’s a good melting pot. We had a talk here the other day at the AJ Bell and Bill Beaumont was speaking with (director of rugby) Steve Diamond, and they highlighted the amount of rugby talent up here. Guys like Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton and so on.
“It’s a great position that we’re in being able to sign these big names like Josh Charnley.”
Sale have a history of successfully bleeding league talent in union in the form of Jason Robinson.
The former Wigan paceman joined Sale in 2000 and famously went on to score the only try of the 2003 World Cup final which England won before helping the Sharks to their greatest triumph in 2006 – lifting the Premiership title.
It is that mentality – to think outside the box – which Addison thinks can help Sale going forward when they often have an uphill climb to compete with wealthier clubs in England.
“We don’t have as many resources and haven’t been spending like Bath or Northampton, with the size of squads they have,” he said.
“Maybe that has had a knock on effect for competition in our squad, but that has really started to up itself in the last couple of years.
“We’ve had Sam James come through this year who has only added to the competition which can only make us as young players much better and kick the older players up the bum at times.”
Not one Sale player this season has escaped training with a slight twist: attack coach Paul Deacon is a former league star, who, alongside defence coach Mike Forshaw, also with a league background, has opened the team’s eyes to a different style of play.
“I think Bath probably pioneered that triangular and out the back kind of shape last year, and now Paul has come in and revolutionised the way we attack,” said Addison.
“The fine details that come with the stuff the league guys do, I’m sure that’s something Josh will do really well when he comes in.
“He’s worked with Paul for a number of years so that will make his transition a little bit easier.
“Mike Forshaw as well, he’s someone who knows the attritional side of rugby league and he’s brought that to us. It does pay dividends.”
Although Charnley could well provide competition for the likes of James and Addison in the back division, the 23-year-old is eager to see the league man’s finishing skills in action.
“Myself and a few guys here we watch a lot of league. I’ve seen plenty of Josh and I’ve always been impressed by him,” said Addison.
“He’s just going to have to learn the intricacies of wing play and back play in union which is massively different to league which I’m sure he’s adept to doing.
“He’s showed his capabilities as an athlete and rugby player in the past so I’m sure he’ll show it again in the Sale colours.”
Sale sit three points behind sixth-placed Harlequins with a game in hand as they push to climb the table, though they have Gloucester two points in arrears and Bath a further three back as the season reaches its usual frenetic conclusion.
Image courtesy of Sale Sharks and Brut4men, via YouTube, with thanks.