Sale Sharks will face off against fellow Aviva Premiership Rugby teams Leicester Tigers and Newcastle Falcons in a Kings of the North tournament this autumn, as a curtain raiser for the new season.
The Premiership’s three most northerly clubs will compete for the Richard III trophy, in celebration of the monarch’s recent reinterment at Leicester Cathedral and the role the Tigers played in the appeal.
With the start of next year’s domestic season delayed because of England hosting the Rugby World Cup this will be a chance for club rugby fans to whet their appetite for the campaign to come.
Speaking at the tournament launch at Leicester Cathedral, Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “Club rugby is built on rivalries and we look forward to contesting the title of Kings of the North with Leicester and Newcastle.
“All three teams will be fine-tuning their work ahead of the start of the league season and there should be some good contests home and away.”
The contest will see all three teams play each other home and away in a round robin format with the table-topping team crowned champion.
The Salford side will kick off the tournament at Kingston Park, home of the Falcons, on the opening weekend of September.
With three games left this season Sale still have it all to play for – despite last week’s loss at London Irish – with just five points separating them from the top six and European qualification.
Danny Cipriani insists that his team shouldn’t be counted just yet and that the players have the belief to have a strong finish to the year.
The fly-half told MM: “All we can do is win to put ourselves in the best position. Then in the following weeks that’s when we’ll see the changes happening.
“There’s also the slight possibility still of getting into the top four depending on results and how they go, so it’s a massive chance for us to do Sale Sharks and the north of England proud by doing well.”
The Sharks return to Premiership rugby next week at home to Harlequins.
Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.