Sale Sharks Women confirm the signing of two versatile forwards

Sale Sharks Women are excited to confirm the signing of two versatile forwards ahead of their debut season in the Premier 15s, continuing the team’s ambitious recruitment drive.

Katie Houghton is a former Eccles Women’s captain who went on to represent Firwood Waterloo at Premier 15s level and can play prop or second row. Katie played at Eccles RUFC from 2011-2019, where her performances were rewarded with calls ups to both the North of England Women’s divisional squad and the Lancashire County squad. 

 Houghton in action for Eccles RUFC

Vicky Irwin (not to be mistaken for her namesake who plays centre) is primarily a second row that offers Sale Sharks Women the versatility to play in a number of other positions.  Irwin was a league and cup winner with Crewe and Nantwich in 2018/19 and has also represented Ulster Women. Vicky is already accustomed with Sale Sharks, having worked within the Community Trust since 2014 in a variety of roles, with her current role being Community Development Manager.

Irwin in action for Crewe and Nantwich RUFC


Commenting on the announcement, Head of Women’s Rugby Darren Lamon says both players can make significant contributions to the squad ahead of the new season.


“Katie has been playing rugby union for a long time and has shown that she has the talent to continue to play in the top competition. She can play across the front 5 positions and that experience and versatility will be vital for us, especially in our first season. Katie is a powerful player with ball in hand and whose experience will support and complement the other players we have in the squad here. 

Vicky has worked incredibly hard in this offseason not only on her fitness but with her role within the exceptional community department we have here at Sale. She has plenty of experience in terms of playing and leadership, and both of these will be important as we build for the future. Vicky is a good addition to the squad, and being an experienced coach herself will add value to the performance team. She already knows the club well and shares the vision for accelerating the development of the Women’s & Girls game in the North West.”


Upon signing, Katie said

“It is such an amazing opportunity to be part of this Sharks squad. With such an ambitious and passionate group the potential of the team is huge. I can’t wait to get started.”


Vicky said

 “It is an exciting time for me to be joining Sale Sharks Women, to play in the Premier 15s competition and represent the Sharks on a different level. The club has a rich tradition, there is a vision with clear goals on the environment we want to create and style of play, with some new developments in the next few years to look forward to. Hopefully, with my experience I can bring something to the team, contributing both on and off the field. Playing in the Premier 15s will be a challenge but I know that everything is in place for Sale Sharks Women to succeed; great coaches and players, world-class training facilities and a strong desire to be competitive.”


For more information on the Sale Sharks Women’s Team and the opportunities available to be involved, please email

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