Sale Sharks have been handed a boost ahead of their opening match in the LV Cup against Bath this Friday after defence coach Mike Forshaw signed a two-year contract with the club.
Former rugby league man Forshaw joined the club on a short term deal in the summer and has helped to turn the Sharks’ defence from one of the worst in the league to the fifth best.
In a statement director of rugby Steve Diamond said that it was no coincidence that Sale had become a good defensive side this season since Forshaw joined them.
“I think we’re knocking around the top five in terms of the defensive stats which is where we need to be at and I don’t think in the past five or six years we have been anywhere near there,” he said.
“Mike’s done a great job with the defence since he’s come in and we’re delighted that he’s agreed a new two-year deal with us.
“I think it was a position that we had never really filled before and it needs the dedication and time associated with it.”
In the past three of the last four season Sale allowed more points against them than any other side and with the Sharks already having defeated Bath this season Sale’s Oldham-born fly-half Joe Ford believes that they face a tough group in the Anglo-Welsh competition.
“I think they’re all pretty big games irrespective of who we’re playing,” Ford told the Sharks’ website. “Bath will be tough as they’re third in the Premiership and the away games at Quins and Ospreys are going to be a challenge as well.
“I think they’re still getting over the defeat to us to be honest, I think it was the last time they lost and they’ll be looking to put that right. We’ll have to try and steady the ship early on and then build into our game.
“We are pretty confident but they’re building a bit of momentum. We’ll have to start well, build a score, stick to our patterns and hopefully we can get another good result.”
Director of Rugby Steve Diamond admitted at a fans open evening last month that the cup was not a priority for the club despite Sale reaching the final last year.
“The LV is a great competition but it is the other two [league and European games] that are our first choices,” he said.
“In priority we want to be a top six side which gives you automatic qualification for the Heineken and to play in the European competition gives the younger lads a good opportunity to play in different environments. The league is our first and foremost followed by the Heineken.”
Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.