Danny Cipriani has revealed why he turned down the lure of Toulon to instead sign a new two-year contract with Sale.
Cipriani last week signed a new two-year deal and was back on club duty following his involvement in England's Six Nations campaign.
And the 27-year-old England fly-half was at his inspired best at the AJ Bell Stadium today as he helped to inspire the Sharks to a crucial 14-10 Premiership win over Saracens. The lowest tally of points Saracens have recorded in a Premiership game since 2012.
Having turned down a lucrative offer from French champions Toulon, Cipriani was typically influential as two first-half tries from centre Sam Tuitupou and lock Jonathan Mills put the hosts in control.
Cipriani, who provided a brilliant short pass for Tuitupou's try, converted both tries to establish a 14-3 interval advantage over an ill-disciplined Saracens side, who lost openside flanker Jacques Burger and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth to the sin-bin in the first half.
Cipriani, who said he was hoping to feature for England against Ireland in next week's Six Nations encounter, spoke of his delight at committing himself to Sale and club boss Steve Diamond.
"My decision was always going to take time and there were a various number of factors to consider.
"The thing that swayed it was obviously getting the opportunity to play for England but you look at the youngsters we have coming through here at Sale and it's exciting.
"It feels like me when I was younger and they're probably the most talented group in the Premiership - there are a good six of them.
"The Toulon offer was tempting because out of all the clubs in the world, Toulon does tempt you with the set-up.
"But I feel like we're really building something here and as a squad we're doing extremely well.
"We're going to invest for next season and, if we add to this squad, I think you'll see how powerful we can be."
Cipriani is in his third season at Sale and keeping him at the club has delighted Diamond, who jokingly said the pair would celebrate by going for a pint in Diamond's local watering hole The Railway in Hale.
"Danny was given a simple question in December," Diamond revealed.
"He had to tell us by the end of February what he was doing and that was the only discussion we ever had.
"He rung me last week and said he was staying, so I was really delighted.
"He's a team player and I think he fits into our set-up well, plus he enjoys Manchester.
"His performances have come from his contentedness of living up here. He's ambitious and so are we as a club."
Over the next few days we will be previewing the huge head-to-head battles in this Saturday's Aviva Premiership game against Exeter Chiefs. First up we are going to look at the battle at scrum half between Chris Cusiter and Will Chudley.
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