The curtain came down on another Aviva Premiership season last weekend at Twickenham when Northampton Saints beat Saracens in extra time. Well done to Northampton and former Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder for lifting the trophy.
From a Sale Sharks point of view 2013-2014 was a great season following the problems of the previous season. Steve Diamonds men won 12 of the 22 fixtures in the Premiership recording doubles over Gloucester, Worcester, Bath and Wasps. Who will ever forget the win over Northampton at the AJ Bell Stadium in March and the 55-12 win at Exeter on Easter Saturday; the win in Devon secured a top six place and also a place in the new European Champions Cup for next season.
The stats for the season have been released by Stuart framer of SFMS and they make interesting reading. In the discipline department, 7 players were red carded and 166 yellow cards were issued. No Sharks players were red carded and only 9 players received a yellow. This figure was second to Exeter who had 8. Worst offenders with yellows were Gloucester with 22 and Saracens with 20. Gloucester also had three red cards issued.
Among the best accumulators of points was Danny Cipriani who made 18 appearances, scoring 143 points, including a full house (try,dg,pen,conv) at Saracens when Sharks led for most of the game before losing in the final minutes.
Mark Cueto scored 8 tries and was level 4th with Chris Ashton of Saracens. Six of Mark's tries were scored during the first half of games.
Danny Cipriani had a 70% efficiency with his kicks at goal, Joe Ford had 67% and Nick Macleod 61%.
Sharks 55-12 win at Exeter was the best away win of the season in the whole of the Aviva Premiership.
Mark Cueto still leads the way with 86 tries in his career and Nick Macleod will be hoping to break the 500 point barrier in the Premiership next season as he is currently on 445.
Danny Cipriani (99) and Marc Jones (98) will join the list of players who have made 100 Premiership appearances early next season.
No sooner has the season ended but the countdown to 2014-2015 starts. The players are due back in for pre-season training on 20th June and the fixtures for the new season will be released on 4th July.
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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Sale boss Steve Diamond believes that some good old-fashioned home comforts can help drive the Sharks to a second successive top-six Premiership finish this season.
As England host the Rugby World Cup, the multi million selling soprano, Laura Wright, who is known to millions as the official anthem singer of the England Rugby Team will be getting behind all things rugby this February, continuing her support for the RFU's All Schools rugby campaign.