Budding young Sale Sharks talents Tommy Taylor, Mike Haley, Will Addison, Josh Beaumont and Ross Harrison must all devour opposing Premiership sides this season, says defence coach Mike Forshaw.
Forshaw, who played rugby league for 17 years for Wigan, Wakefield Trinity, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls and Warrington Wolves as well as England and Great Britain, has coached Sale’s exciting new breed since 2013 as they prepare for their Kings of the North opener against Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.
Although the Sharks don’t open their Premiership campaign until October 17 against defending champions Saracens, Forshaw wants changes starting this weekend.
“Particularly Mike Haley who burst onto the scene last year, it’s not about him being a young player, it’s about him being a Premiership player and I think the challenge for him is to become a Premiership animal,” Forshaw told MM.
“He’s such a talented kid, as is Will, who when he’s fit he’s a great player for Sale Sharks.
“The more options we have in the backline then we can rely on switching players around. In the Premiership we do need a little bit of depth, we’re not the broadest squad but if we can produce younger players to provide depth that’s great.”
Forshaw disagreed with the description of the 23-year-old gang of Taylor, Beaumont and Harrison as young players despite their age.
“This is their second or third season playing big man rugby and they’ve got to play like big men now,” said the 45-year-old.
“They’re not young players any more, they’re senior Premiership players. They’re animals. On the back of the Dave Seymours, the Dan Braids and the Jonathan Mills’ they’ve got to start driving the team as well.
“They’ve got to bring something to the party now. As coaches you can do anything but as players you’ve really got to bring something to the party.
“It would be great to see them use their experience from last year and apply that this year.”
Last season Sale faded towards the backend of their fixture list to miss out on top-flight European action but with an improving squad and the addition of attack and skills coach Paul Deacon the 2006 Premiership champions may well harbour hopes of getting back to those heady days.
Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.