The Penrith-born flyer was fast-tracked into the starting XV in the autumn of 2011 after returning from injury to score two tries in a friendly against Oxford University. He appeared in 20 games in his first full season as part of the first-team set-up but managed just eight starts in 2012-13 as injuries prevented him from kicking on in the way he had hoped. An Under-20 international, time is still very much on Addison's side and he has already impressed England boss Stuart Lancaster, who said in the summer of 2012: "He has huge potential. To come in and play in the Premiership at such a young age takes a lot of doing."
The first of four players to swap London Welsh for Sale Sharks after their relegation from the Premiership at the end of last season, Arscott was subsequently joined in the North West by former Exiles team-mates Kirill Kumelin, Phil Mackenzie and Jonathan Mills. Able to play on the wing or at full-back, Arscott moved north after a year at Welsh, who he joined from Worcester. An England Under-19 international during his time at Plymouth, he has also played for the Saxons and made 19 Premiership appearances last season to take his career tally beyond 50 after an earlier spell in the top flight with Bristol.
Signed in the summer of 2013, Baines moved to the Sharks after catching Steve Diamond's eye while playing in the Championship for Rotherham. After beginning his career at Vale of Lune, he moved to Macclesfield before joining Rotherham. Recruited by the Titans as a back-rower, he was converted into a hooker by Andre Bester and played 61 times for the club, scoring seven tries. On signing him, Diamond said: "I believe he was the best hooker playing in the Championship (in 2012-13). He's got big passion and is very ambitious. He's still a young lad and this is a big opportunity for him."
Beaumont joined the Sharks in the summer of 2012 on a dual-registration deal with Fylde after a spell in the Newcastle Falcons academy. He made his Sale debut against Montpellier in January 2013, the first of two appearances in 2012-13. Though he favours playing in the second row, he showed his versatility by making his debut at Number Eight. At the time, Beaumont was still studying at Durham University and had captained England Students. Former England captain Bill is his father, and Josh once said: "You're always going to get the 'son of' label but it's one of those things you just get used to. He's always good to go to for advice so I'm not too worried about it."
Brady will look back on 2012-13 with a good deal of frustration as injuries and suspension meant he was unable to match the impact he made in his first two seasons in the first team. After a try-scoring debut in the Premiership against Newcastle Falcons, he finished 2010-11 with seven tries from 12 appearances and added another nine (from 29) the following season. But by mid-March in 2013 he had been shown more yellow cards (two) than scored tries (one). Two tries in his last five appearances of the season saw him back to form, though, and the 2012 Young Player of the Year was rewarded with a new contract at the end of the season.
Signed from Auckland Blues in January 2013, Braid quickly proved to be an astute piece of business, playing a key role as the Sharks survived in their fight against relegation. After experiencing two New Year's Eves on his flight from New Zealand to England, he quickly settled in at Sale and left no-one in any doubt as to his commitment and quality. A four-cap All Black, his father Gary also played for New Zealand while younger brother Luke plays Super Rugby for Auckland. After announcing Braid had signed an extended deal in the summer, Steve Diamond said: "Dan has slotted in perfectly at the club."
Buckley was Steve Diamond's first signing after he made his return to the Sharks and arrived with a big reputation - and a stature to match. The man they call 'Mushy' is one of the heaviest players in the professional game and as you would expect of a man of his standing is a wrecking ball in the loose. Signed from Munster in the summer of 2011, the former Connacht prop made his Ireland debut in 2007 and has won 25 caps. There had been press reports he was on London Wasps' summer shopping list, but Buckley will remain a Shark for the final year of the three-year deal he signed on joining the club.
Cipriani scored almost 200 points in his first season as a Sharks player. Signed on a three-year deal last summer, the Wasps academy product made 27 appearances in his debut season, scoring four tries. An England international, he made his debut for the national side in 2008 but hasn't pulled on the white shirt since 2009 after falling out of favour during Martin Johnson's reign. Cipriani left Wasps in 2010 to sign for Melbourne Rebels, scoring 108 points in his final season Down Under before joining Sale.
Rewarded with a new contract in March, Cliff was enjoying his best season as a Sale player when a knee injury ended his season prematurely. But having played for the Sharks just three months after sustaining fractures to his cheekbone and eye socket in 2008, there can be no doubt about his powers of recovery. After starting out at Sandbach, he joined Macclesfield before signing up with the Sale academy. He spent the early part of 2007-8 helping Manchester win promotion and was the Jets' Player of the Year that season too. A loan move to Leeds in 2011-12 helped prepare him further for the rigours of professional rugby.
One of two Eastern European signings made by Steve Diamond after his return to Sale Sharks (Andrei Ostrikov being the other), Cobilas joined the club from VVA-Podmoskovye Monino in March 2011. The first Moldovan to sign a professional deal with an English team, he made 24 appearances in his debut season for the club and added another 17 in 2012-13. Eighteen of those 41 appearances have come as a starter, with Cobilas regularly featuring as a replacement front-rower. A no-nonsense operator, the Soroca-born prop is just the sort of reliable squad player the modern-day director of rugby needs.
Croall has found first-team opportunities limited since moving to Sale in the summer of 2010, but his commitment and versatility saw him handed a new contract in the summer. Since moving north from Harlequins, the front-rower has averaged fewer than three starts a season - eight in a total of 32 appearances - and had a spell on loan back at the Stoop during 2011-12. Raised on the Isle of Sheppey, he first played senior rugby at Saracens, where he captained the A side, before moving to Quins in the summer of 2006. Primarily a loosehead prop, he can also play as a hooker.
The longest-serving player in the squad, Cueto is in his 13th and last season as a Sale player. Just four years after he started playing the game seriously, aged 17, he made his first-team debut for the Sharks and has gone on to make over 230 appearances for the club in the intervening years. The Premiership's record tryscorer, he passed the previous mark of 75 - set by former Sale team-mate and fellow Cumbrian Steve Hanley - in 2012-13. Capped more than 50 times by England (scoring seven tries in his first eight Test matches), he also made a Test appearance for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand in 2005.
Recruited from Leicester Tigers to join the Sharks' academy in the summer of 2012, Doyle had to wait just a couple of months to make his first-team debut in the Premiership away game against Bath in September. Seven more appearances followed in his first season in the North West and the New Zealand-born back-rower showed plenty of commitment and no little quality. On handing Doyle his debut at the Rec, Bryan Redpath said: "James has played exceptionally well for the Jets. He has come in and worked hard and put pressure on others at the club."
Easter endured a hugely frustrating 2012-13 season, unable to take to the field after November 11 because of a shoulder injury that required surgery. But the Swaziland-born back-rower, brother of Harlequins Number Eight Nick, is well known to Steve Diamond and was given a new contract in the summer. Easter was reunited with Diamond, who he played under at Northampton, when he moved north to join the Sharks in the summer of 2011 after making more than 100 appearances for the Saints. Previously with Nottingham, he has a key role to play following the summer departures of Andy Powell and Richie Vernon.
A first-team debutant at late notice on the LV= Cup trip to Wasps last season, Flynn is another product of the Sale academy set-up to have graduated into the first team in recent years. Initially down to be a travelling reserve to Adams Park, the former Stockport Grammar School captain was promoted to the replacements' bench when Eifion Lewis Roberts fell ill on the eve of the match - then replaced Ross Harrison with six minutes of the game left. A local boy, Flynn came through the junior ranks at Manchester Rugby Club before signing a dual-registration deal with the Jets and National League Two North side Stockport.
Signed in the summer from Leeds, Oldham-born Ford is from a rugby family, with father Mike a former Great Britain international rugby league player and ex-England defence coach in union, and brother George already an established Premiership player. Able to play at full-back but primarily a fly-half, Ford is back in the top flight after spending the 2010-11 season with Northampton, making just five appearances before returning to former club Leeds. Part of the Tykes side who won the Yorkshire Cup in 2009, Ford was described as a "great signing" and "very exciting player" by Sharks co-owner Ian Blackhurst.
Born in Huddersfield, Forsyth is back in the north after joining the Sharks from Leicester Tigers in the summer. A quick and elusive centre or wing and an accomplished goalkicker, he made 24 appearances in four seasons at Welford Road, helping the Tigers win the LV= Cup in 2011-12. A former England Under-16 and Under-18 international, he has also played two seasons of Championship rugby with Nottingham on a dual-registration deal. On signing him, Steve Diamond said: "Andy is a very talented young player. He is very highly rated but hasn't had as many opportunities in the first team at Leicester as he would like and he wants to impress."
Another of the bright young prospects in the first-team squad to have progressed from the academy set-up, Fowles made his first 10 appearances for the club while still a teenager. A successful loan spell at Preston Grasshoppers in 2011-12 saw him named in the National League Two North Team of the Year and he spent last summer, along with Sam James, at Border Bulldogs competing in the Under-21 Currie Cup. A move to Fylde followed at the start of the 2012-13 season but it did not prevent him from playing 11 times for the Sharks, with four of those appearances - one as a starter - coming in the Heineken Cup.
The youngest captain in the history of Sale, Gaskell is still just 23 but has already made a big impact. The Breakthrough Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year back in 2009-10, four years later he begins the season just two appearances short of a century for the club. Primarily a lock, he can also play in the back row, a position he played for both Sandbach School and Rugby Club. Made captain by Mike Brewer in the summer of 2010, his leadership qualities were not just spotted by the Kiwi as he has since captained England Saxons, the youngster player to receive that honour in the team's history.
Another to make his first-team debut in the 2012-13 season and, like fellow academy product James Flynn, it came in unexpected fashion. When Cameron Shepherd pulled up in the warm-up of the LV= Cup semi-final against Saracens, Haley was drafted into the starting line-up and did not look out of place. Dual-registered with Preston Grasshoppers, his club since the age of eight, Haley joined the Sale academy set-up in 2012 having previously played for England Clubs and Schools Under-18s, the North of England at Under-16 and Under-18 level and Lancashire U15s, U16s and U18s.
In his second spell with the Sharks, Holmes was rewarded for what was widely seen as his breakthrough season by signing a new deal in the summer. After picking up an injury, he was released from the academy in 2009 but a spell playing in South Africa reinvigorated him. After returning to domestic action with Sedgley Tigers and Cheshire, he re-signed for the Sharks academy, making his first-team debut in 2011-12. Another 14 appearances followed last season, with Holmes reunited on the pitch with James Gaskell, who he captained when they came through the ranks together at Sandbach.
Another to make his debut in 2012-13, Ingall signed for Sale in September 2012 after an injury-hit year at Wasps. Having trained with the Sharks squad, he did enough in three pre-season appearances to earn himself a contract and went on to play five times for the first team, making a tryscoring debut against Scarlets in January 2013. While studying at Newcastle University, the versatile back played for the Newcastle Falcons academy and Tynedale and also spent a year at the Queensland University Academy. Ingall has also captained the Irish Exiles Under-20s and played for Ireland Under-20s at the Junior World Cup.
A hugely promising teenager, James spent last summer (along with team-mate Nathan Fowles) in South Africa, taking part in the Under-21 Currie Cup for Border Bulldogs. Able to play either in the centres or at fly-half, he got his first taste of a first-team matchday experience after being named as a replacement for the LV= Cup game against Saracens in March 2013. Formerly a Senior Colt at Manchester Rugby Club, he played for England Under-19s while studying at Wilmslow High School and still short of his 18th birthday.
The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Jennings as he made his Premiership and Heineken Cup debuts for the Sharks, scoring his first try along the way, before helping England Under-20s win the Six Nations. Born in Namibia, he moved to England at the age of three and signed for the Sharks on his 16th birthday; making him the club's youngest signing in their history. A captain of seven different teams already, Jennings has played for England from Under-16 level upwards and scored a try at Twickenham in the Daily Mail Under-15 Cup final. A centre of whom everyone at Sale has high hopes.
Jones had a hugely disappointing start to the 2012-13 season as a toe injury he sustained in the first match of the season saw him ruled out until almost the turn of the year. But he returned as impressively as ever and played a key role in lifting the Sharks clear of the threat of relegation, earning himself a new deal in the process. The club's Breakthrough Player of the Year back in 2008-09, he has made over 100 appearances for the Sharks and 18 or more in each of the last five seasons. A Wales international from Under-16 to Under-21 level, he is primarily a hooker but has played at number seven when required.
Kulemin was one of the four players signed in the summer from London Welsh (Tom Arscott, Phil Mackenzie and Jonathan Mills the others) after their relegation to the Championship. A Russia international, the strapping lock made 22 appearances for the Exiles after joining them last summer following eight years in the notoriously tough French Top 14. On signing him, Steve Diamond said: "I know Kiril very well from working with him with the Russian national side. He has played well for London Welsh and is a huge physical presence. He also has massive experience from his time with Castres."
Sale Sharks Players' Player of the Year, Leota's centre partnership with Sam Tuitupou went from strength to strength in 2012-13. And his eye-catching performances were matched by his hairstyle as he finished the season sporting a 'Mr T' look in aid of charity. Signed by Steve Diamond in his first summer back at Sale, Leota has already reached his half-century of appearances, with 28 of those coming last season. The eight-cap Samoa international has Super 14 experience with the Highlanders and made over 50 appearances for Manawatu in the New Zealand Provincial Championship before moving to England.
The man they call 'The Fridge' will not look back on the 2012-13 season with much fondness. His return to the Sharks after a year with Toulon threatened to turn sour when he injured his shoulder and was told in February, he had tested positive for morphine and pseudoepehdrine after the 2011-12 Top 14 final. He was subsequently cleared though, on the grounds he had not deliberately attempted to enhance his performance. A former dairy farmer, he joined the Sharks from Rhuthun in his Welsh homeland in 2005 and made his debut later that year. His one international cap came in the 2008 Test against Canada.
Another of the four players signed from London Welsh in the summer (Tom Arscott, Kirill Kulemin and Jonathan Mills the others) after their relegation from the Premiership, Mackenzie moves north after scoring eight tries in 22 appearances in his year at the Exiles. Previously at Coventry and Esher in the Championship, the 17-cap Canada international, who played at the 2011 World Cup, scored in Welsh's 25-24 defeat by the Sharks in February. On signing him, Steve Diamond said: "He played really well for London Welsh all season long. He's a real hard-working lad and I think he will fit in really well here."
Now in his sixth season as a Sale player, Macleod has made over 100 appearances for the club and scored in excess of 600 points. Absent from the first team from Christmas until early February last season, he was back to his assured best for the crucial run-in, scoring a total of 40 points in his final four appearances of the season. Macleod signed for the Sharks in 2008 after seven years at Cardiff during which he scored over 200 points playing at fly-half, centre and full-back. A former Wales Under-21 international, he was called up to the Wales squad in 2006 but is yet to win a senior cap.
Miller is another of the Sharks players for whom 2012-13 was a frustrating season. After the heights of the previous campaign, in which he scored 13 tries, was nominated for the Game Changer of the Season award and was called up by the Saxons, Miller scored just two tries last season and didn't play after February because of a shoulder injury. But he remains a hugely talented young player. A former England Under-16, Under-17 and Under-20 international, he signed from Newcastle in the summer of 2010 and was thought of primarily as a fly-half but has made the Sharks full-back position his own.
The fourth player to join the Sharks from London Welsh in the summer (after Tom Arscott, Kirill Kulemin and Phil Mackenzie), Mills moves north after six years with the Exiles. Able to play either as a lock or back-rower, he played 169 times for Welsh. Captain Mills was the club's Player of the Year, Players' Player of the Year and Supporters' Player of the Year in their relegation season. On signing him, Steve Diamond describing the Welshman as an "inspirational player who leads by example" who he thinks will be a "big asset" to the Sharks.
Along with Vadim Cobilas, Ostrikov was one of two Eastern European signings made by Steve Diamond in his first season back at Sale. Recruited from French second-tier team Aurillac, he was the eight new forward signed that summer. Injuries have blighted his career at Sale so far - a back injury contributed to him missing the first three months of his debut season, while a shoulder injury meant he missed six months of last season. But when fit he has been a key figure in the Sharks pack, his physical presence and height making a particular difference at line-out time.
Cardiff's Player of the Year in 2012-13, Paterson was described as a "key addition" by Steve Diamond when his signing was announced in April. The Kiwi spent three years at Cardiff after joining from the Hurricanes, making 56 appearances for the Welsh region. Formerly with the Crusaders, the former New Zealand Under-21 international was reported to be a contender for the All Blacks before heading to the Arms Park in 2010. On signing the big forward, Diamond said: "Michael has been outstanding for Cardiff. Though he played Number Eight predominantly there, I see him more as a lock for us."
Like fellow Welshman Nick Macleod, Peel is in his sixth season as a Sale player and his experience remains vital with plenty of young players around him. Now Wales' second most-capped scrum-half having won 76 caps (behind current incumbent and 2013 Lion Mike Phillips), he was also a Lions tourist in 2005, playing in all three Test matches under Clive Woodward. Two separate fractures threatened to detail his 2012-13 season, but he still managed 20 appearances, scoring three tries. Having started his club career with Llanelli, he joined the Scarlets franchise in 2003 and went on to play over 80 times for them.
The Supporters' Club Player of the Year for a second successive season, Seymour has proved to be an inspired signing. After moving north from Saracens in 2009, he enjoyed a brilliant first season in which only two players in the Premiership made more tackles than him. The following year was almost a write-off as injury limited him to just six league outings. But 60 have followed in the following two seasons from the man given the captaincy last summer. After coming through the ranks at Vicarage Road, he made 105 appearances for the club after making his debut in 2004 and has played for England at both Under-21 and A level.
One of the shining lights in a tough 2012-13 for the Sharks, Taylor was a joint-winner of the Young Player of the Year award with his fellow front-rowers Ross Harrison and Henry Thomas. With Marc Jones absent for much of the season, Taylor was thrust into the first-team set-up and made more starts in 2012-13 (16) than his appearance tally had been before the season started (11). Hailing from Macclesfield, he signed for the Sharks' academy on the same day as Harrison and Tom Holmes in July 2011 and made his first-team debut in his first season at the club. A former England Counties player, a bright future looks assured.
The third joint-winner of the Young Player of the Year award for 2012-13 (with Ross Harrison and Tommy Taylor), Thomas received further acclaim in the summer when he made his first two appearances for England in Argentina. The son of a former London Welsh player, he began the 2010-11 season as captain of the Jets but made his first-team debut that October and went on to make 21 appearances that season. More than 35 have followed since, though injuries have forced him to spend frustrating spells out in each of the last two seasons. Still short of his prime, though, and widely seen as an England regular of the future.
Half of a formidable centre partnership with Johnny Leota, Tuitupou was once again a key man for the Sharks in 2012-13. As expected, handing over the captaincy to David Seymour had no effect on his commitment to the cause and he was rewarded with a new deal in March. Recruited from Irish giants Munster along with Tony Buckley in 2011, he was a World Cup winner with New Zealand Under-21s and played nine times for the All Blacks. A Super 14 title with the Blues, 'Hacksaw Sam' also won the Air New Zealand Cup with Auckland before moving to Worcester in 2007 and onwards to Munster three years later.
Back at a Premiership club after a previous spell at Exeter, Walker-Blair is looking to get his career at the top level back on track after bad luck with injury. A former winger, he joined the Sharks after a three-month spell with Jersey at the end of last season. While at Exeter, he suffered knee injuries while dual-registered to first Taunton then Cornish Pirates, the second causing him to spend a year out of the game. On signing him, Steve Diamond said: "Charlie is someone we have had our eyes on for quite a while now. He's a really talented number six and is a really big, imposing lad."
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