Sale Sharks will bid farewell to Cobus Wiese in the summer after the 26-year-old agreed to leave the club to move back to South Africa. The popular lock arrived at the club as a self-confessed ‘loose cannon’ ahead of the 2020/21 season, but after almost four years in Manchester, he will leave as one of the Premiership’s most respected operators. 

We caught up with him to get his verdict on what has been a difficult decision to make. 

He said: “It was a tough decision to leave, because this club has been really important for my career. It was an emotional decision too because I’ve made some real friends and built some close relationships while I’ve been here. So it has been tough. 

“It’s almost felt like I want to tear myself in two. I want to be at home with my family, but after four seasons here, leaving this place behind is really hard because I’ve enjoyed my rugby so much. 

“It was family-based decision. We didn’t go looking to leave but when the opportunity came, my wife and I sat down and spoke about it. It felt like going home was something we needed to do. 

“We haven’t seen our parents in two years. My little girl is six months old and neither of their granddads have met her yet so it felt like going home was the best decision for us as a family, even though it will be so difficult to leave Sale Sharks behind. 

“I think I’ve matured so much here as a rugby player. I arrived as a someone who was fairly loose, I only relied on my size and my physicality. I’ve become a more rounded player and while I still do occasionally lose my head, I feel much more mature and able to channel my energy and aggression in the right way. 

“It’s made me a more competitive player because I’ve found somewhere where I really feel like I add value to a team. 

“Personally, when I arrived I was a loose cannon. While I’ve been here I’ve got married and I’ve become a dad. It feels like I’ve grown from a boy to man. 

“When you have a child, all of a sudden you have to think about a bigger picture and you can’t just be thinking about yourself. It’s not a bad thing, but I do feel like it’s my duty to put my family first. 

“My wife will support me wherever I go, but I know she will be happier with family close by. We want to have more children in the future and moving home is the right thing to do now.” 

Cobus has played almost 80 games for the club, scoring five tries, with 13 of those appearances coming this season. And he says his decision to leave will give him extra motivation to make sure his time in Manchester ends on a high. 

He added: “I’ve loved it here. I’ve been part of a brilliant team and I feel like I’ve played my part in this club making huge strides. I would have loved to win more trophies and it was emotional for me to think that this is my last chance to do that with this club. 

“Last season was really special, and even though I missed the final with injury, I felt like I was a part of it, and I was hurting as much as anyone when the final whistle blew. 

“One of the biggest highlights for me was winning away in Bristol a couple of years ago in Europe, when we were down to 13 men. It said everything about this club and this group. 

“Something I’ll always remember was in my first season here when I ran out and it started snowing. It was quite a shock to the system. 

“I’ve had amazing support from our fans, especially the South Stand. They are so loyal and so passionate. Even though we haven’t had our best season this year, they’ve supported us home and away. The people of the north west have been so friendly to me and my family and I’ll always be grateful. 

“There’s so much still to play for this season and I’ve got extra motivation to want to leave on a high. It’s really important for me to leave a hole when I go. I want to leave a space that not anyone can come in and fill. We’re in a mini pre-season now and our backs are against the wall and there’s only one thing to do – look forward and keep working hard.” 

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