On Sam James 150th Cap for Sale:
Sam had a really special day on his 150th appearance, he got himself a nice try and the lads gave him MVP too, so he’s had a good week. I think he’s probably the most underrated centre in the game, he just doesn’t seem to get a spot on the international stage. He seems to have it all, he’s quick, got good hands and a monster left boot. He’s just got a really bad haircut; which I don’t think he’ll mind me saying! It’s great working with guys like Sam, there are so many weapons within this team, it’s just about unlocking their full potential.
On utilising Faf De Klerk in his arsenal:
“I’m not surprised by Faf’s (skills) at all and I feel very lucky to have a player of his quality here at Sale. My job now is about utilising his x factor as much as I can as we haven’t done that so far this season. One way we can do that is to look at giving him quicker ball to run off and a better platform to play off than we have for the first half of the season, but it’s a group effort from the forwards to achieve that.
Bristol this weekend?
“Bristol are an amazingly dangerous team if you give them time and space, they probably have the best club rugby back line in the world at the moment. We don’t want to feed that backline this weekend, but even if you starve their backs, they have the ability to throw a lightning bolt at you so we have to be mentally prepared for all outcomes and be able to overcome them. We’re going up against the top of the tree on Friday, a team brimming with confidence and I have no doubt Pat will have a few tricks up his sleeve. We are going down there with one kind of mindset, and that’s to push Bristol for 80 minutes and see where we are after that.
Is this a chance to target some wins over the Six Nations?
We aren’t targeting any specific games or any period of time. I’ve been involved in places where structures are put in place along the lines of ‘We’ll aim for X points from the next 4 games’ but then it starts to seem like it’s alright to lose. We want to win every game so that isn’t acceptable. We want to define ourselves and understand our trademarks and our identities, that’s the most important thing at the moment. Why are we here and how are we going about it?
How important is it joining a club where you have connections?
It’s so rare in the professional game that you can have a loyalty and a feel to a club where you grew up, watched your brother play, played yourself and now I’m coaching here. It’s really special and I’m extremely lucky to have the opportunity. I’ll use that feeling to motivate myself on those rainy days which seem to be a bit to often now I’m back in Manchester, that 3-4 degree drop from London makes all the difference!