With the 2012-13 fixtures being revealed – Sale Sharks face Saracens in their first home game after a trip to Exeter – we take a brief look at what’s happening at our eleven partner clubs around the country.
Gary Gold and Toby Booth are the new men in charge at The Rec., with hooker Rob Webber joining to challenge Lee Mears and Ross Batty for the Number 2 shirt. Other new men are Horacio Agulla (from Tigers), ex-Scarlet lock Dominic Day and former Ospreys prop Paul James. Bath will be encouraging the development of young fly half Tom Heathcote.
There was great pride at Sandy Park when Tom Johnson (England) and Ignacio Mieres (Argentina) gained international recognition this Summer. To back up their impressive fifth place and Heineken Cup qualification, the Chiefs have eight new players, including Aussie international Dean Mumm, back row Kai Horstmann and lock Damian Welch.
Billy Twelvetrees arrives at Kingsholm from Leicester to join Freddie Burns as a front line kicker. New faces include scrum half Jimmy Cowan, hooker Huia Edmonds and England’s new number 8 Ben Morgan. Returning as player coach (did he ever leave?) is Mike Tindall.
The latest Aviva Premiership champions have seen Joe Marler become an established fixture in the England squad during the South Africa tour, scrum half Danny Care return to the fold and club captain Chris Robshaw carrying on the good work at international level.
No-one will ever know what might have happened to the Tigers – and England – if Tom Croft hadn’t suffered a neck injury which made him miss the ‘crunch’ games. Richard Cockerill will be welcoming his return to action and hoping to see more of Mathew Tait. New faces are Dan Bowden and Adam Thompstone, and away from their Welford Road fortress, they’ll be playing in a change strip described as ‘Baltic Blue’.
Former players Barry Everitt and Peter Richards have returned to coach alongside Director of Rugby Smith and Shaun Edwards.Arriving from Leicester will be second row man George Skivington.
Shane Howarth has arrived as Backs Coach, joining another ex-Sale man Paul Turner and Director of Rugby Dai Young. The club seems to have a more certain future after the formation of a Consortium led by former Wasp Ken Moss. Tommy Bell has joined two ex-Sharks, his brother Chris and Simon McIntyre. New faces include Stephen Jones, Fabio Staibano and yet another ex-Shark Lee Thomas.Nearly as many Welshmen at Wasps as at the ‘new’ Exiles London Welsh?
The third of the Premiership’s clubs with ‘London’ in their title, playing further up the Thames Valley at Oxford.Head Coach Lyn Jones is reported to be looking to sign eight ‘headline’ players. Early arrivals are Matt Keyte (scrum half, Bath), Ed Williamson (back row, Leeds) and Daniel Browne (back five forward, Grenoble).
Off field news concerns a public consultation on the redevelopment of the North Stand at Franklins Gardens, which includes the famous Sturtridge Pavilion. The new project will include a study centre and community programme centre. New names at the Gardens include Luther Burrell and Ken Pisi, who joins big brother George.
The ‘Men in Black’ are planning to move into the Copthall Stadium at Barnet in February. England winger Chris Ashton joins from Northampton Saints, whilst another ex-Wigan Warrior, coach Andy Farrell, has left to join Stuart Lancaster’s England team. Prop Lorenzo Roman comes from Aironi, and two other forwards – Nick Fenton-Wells and Alistair Hargreaves – arrive from a more familiar source, South Africa. Charlie Hodgson has announced his retirement from international rugby, and will be linking up again at half back with former Shark colleague Richard Wigglesworth, who returned from injury late in the 2011-12 campaign.
Mathieu Rourre arrives at Sixways from Biarritz as a part-time coach, whilst on the field new names will be Jon Clarke, Paul Hodgson, Nikki Walker and David Lemi.Two former Sharks in Richard Hill’s squad will be lock Dean Schofield and prop Rob O’Donnell.
See all these sides, plus Toulon, Montpellier, Cardiff Blues and back-to-back Heineken Cup winners Leinster, by purchasing a season ticket for our games at the Salford City Stadium. There’ll also be two matches in the LV= Cup. As an extra bonus, we can offer two seats at the JP Morgan Sevens on Friday 20th July at Edgeley Park, the final rugby action at the venue.
Why not come along to our new Stadium between noon and 7 p.m. on Friday 6th July to see behind-the-scenes and purchase your season ticket for 2012/13?
To register your attendance at the open day, simply join the event on our Facebook page.
Can’t wait until then? Use our interactive stadium tour. Select your preferred seat for next season and call our ticket office on 08444 994 994, Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.