Experienced tighthead prop Nick Schonert has signed a new contract keeping him at Sale Sharks until the end of the 2025/26 season.
The South African-born 32-year-old joined Sharks from Worcester Warriors ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Nick – or ‘Sharky’ as he’s known at the club – has gone on to make 59 appearances for Sale, and featured in the 2022/23 Premiership final at Twickenham.
Alex said: “We’ve got a lot of young props at the club and we often talk about how they need to learn the dark arts of the front-row. That’s Nick’s x-factor. He’s a master of the dark arts because that’s his first job.
“Scrums are process driven, but the most emotive part of the game is how you put your body on the line, and how you keep getting up, ready for the next tackle. His ability to keep getting off the line again and again and make a dominant tackle is what sets him apart from other tightheads.
“We’re seeing big performances week-in, week-out and it’s up to us to look after him. But when he’s not fit, he’s got a massive role too, in helping to bring on our young props.
“We’re really excited that he’s signed up for another two years and I would love it if he had his best two years with us.”
Nick said: “I’ve found a new home at this club and in Manchester and I’m so happy to be staying for another two more years. I’m absolutely loving my rugby at the moment and it was a no-brainer to sign a new contract.
“We’ve got a young team with so much potential and I’m really excited to see what we can achieve together in the next two years and beyond.”
Nick began his career by representing the province of KwaZulu-Natal as a youngster before stepping up to play for the Sharks at Under 19 and Under 21 level.
His form led to a call-up to South Africa’s IRB Junior World Championship squad in 2011.
In 2012, Schonert moved to GWK Griquas and played in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup before joining Super Rugby side the Cheetahs at the start of the 2013/14 season.
After joining Worcester in 2014, he quickly established a reputation as one of the best scrummagers in the top flight and has regularly been on the cusp of England selection after qualifying through his English grandmother.
He played for an England XV against the Barbarians at Twickenham in May 2018 and was included in training squads for the 2018 Autumn Internationals and in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.