Having played for Sale FC since the age of 18, Sale Sharks’ Matt Postlethwaite is entering his fifth season at the National Leagues and has also made a breakthrough to the Sale Sharks side, playing in three of the clubs Premiership Cup games that opened up this season.
Speaking to Talking Rugby Union’s Joe Harvey, Postlethwaite says that playing in the National leagues really helped the lock prepare himself for senior men’s rugby with Sale Sharks.
“Playing for Sale has helped a lot in terms of the physicality. Being a forward, so being able to adapt to that has really helped when transitioning into the first team games at Sharks.” Matt Postletwaite said, “There is a lot more focus too on the technical side of things, so the lineouts and scrums.
“Scrums and mauls are used a lot more in senior men’s rugby than schoolboy rugby, so adapting to a far more organised style of play, rather than throwing it about, has helped massively when going into the setup at Sale Sharks.”
Having been educated at Ilkley Grammar School outside Leeds, Postlethwaite admitted that it was a bit of a shock to him aged 18 coming up against players much larger to him, having been used to being the biggest player on the pitch as a schoolboy. Having gone to play for Sale FC upwards of 70 times, Postlethwaite says that getting regular game time has been invaluable to him.
“I know that for me as a player, gametime is massive for my match fitness. For me, you can do as much preseason and fitness as you want, but that doesn’t make you match fit. Only playing games gives you that edge.
“Regularly getting 80 minutes on the bounce week-in week-out, you get in that groove, you know what you’re doing on the pitch, there’s no panic and you’re confident about what you’re doing.” Postlethwaite said.
“Getting so many minutes playing senior men’s rugby has definitely helped massively for me for progressing into the first team at Sale Sharks.”
Not alone in the Sale Sharks squad as a player that has progressed through the National Leagues to play regular rugby in first team. The likes of Josh Beaumont who played for Fylde, Tom and Ben Curry both represented Sale FC and Simon Hammersley learnt the game at National 1s Hull Ionians.
“It gives you a massive confidence boost knowing that the system works and that what you are doing is going in the right direction toward your goal, playing first team rugby. Seeing lads like Beau progress through that pathway is really good to see. It gives me a lot of confidence in what I’m doing and makes you want to keep pursuing it.”
Representing Sale FC last weekend against Blackheath, in what was a 43-18 victory over the London club at Heywood Road, Postlethwaite says that he is more than prepared to split his time between the two clubs due to how competitive the squad it.
“You know for a fact you’re not going to play every Sale Sharks game, so in terms of keeping that match fitness up, it is really good and really useful to go back to Sale FC. It’s a team that I’m pretty integrated with.
“Knowing the lads there, I can just jump straight back into some decent Nat 1 rugby if I haven’t got a game for Sale Sharks one week and go to get that important game time.”
Matt Postlethwaite is sponsored by Filtermech