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Eleven players to depart Sharks



Sale Sharks can confirm the players that will depart the club after the conclusion of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

Following the announced departures of club legends Will Cliff and Jono Ross alongside Scotland internationals Byron McGuigan and Ewan Ashman, a further eight players will leave the Sharks at the end of the club’s most successful season in over 15 years.

Academy graduates Ben Carlile, Elliot Gourlay, Kieran Wilkinson and Matt Postlethwaite will all leave the club to head for pastures new, as will centre Sam Hill following two seasons in the North West.

Jason Woodward, Ryan Mills and Dom Barrow will also depart following the conclusion of their short-term contracts at Sale.

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank our outgoing players for their contribution to the club over the years and wish them the very best for the future.

Commenting on the players leaving this season, Alex Sanderson said: “ I would like to thank every single one of these boys for their contribution to Sale Sharks, they have all played a part in the clubs most successful season in over fifteen years.

“It’s never easy letting players leave, especially Northern lads who have come through our academy but it’s a sign of the changing dynamic of the game.

“I’m grateful to have had the privilege to work with each one of them and get to know them on a personal level. I have made friends for life and as I always say the door is never shut, they’re always welcome at the AJ Bell and I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Ben Carlile

Tight-head prop Ben Carlile joined the club from Yorkshire Academy at the start of the 2019/20 season and has made six appearances for Sale Sharks over four years.

Ewan Ashman

Born in Toronto, Canada, hooker Ewan Ashman played his junior rugby at Sandbach Rugby Club before joining the Sharks Academy in 2017. 

Originally a centre or back-row forward, he made his Sharks debut on September 5, 2020, when he came on as a replacement against Leicester Tigers.

Ewan has since been capped by Scotland and made over 50 appearances for Sale Sharks, scoring 85 points over six years.

Matt Postlethwaite

Lock Matt Postlethwaite joined the Sale Sharks Academy from the Yorkshire Academy in 2015 after playing his formative rugby at Ilkley Rugby Club.

Matt spent two years as a dual-registered player with Sale FC and has made 53 appearances for the Sharks since joining the club.

Kieran Wilkinson

Fly-half Kieran Wilkinson joined the Sale Sharks academy in 2017 after leaving Kirkham Grammar School, in Lancashire.

Kieran made his first team debut for Sharks against Perpignan in the European Challenge Cup in 2018, putting in a composed performance to guide his side to a 41-24 victory.  

Kieran leaves the club after making 29 appearances scoring a total of 235 points for the Sharks over the years.

Jason Woodward

Full-back Jason Woodward joined Sharks on a one-year deal ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season after his release from Gloucester. The versatile back, who can also play on the wing and in the centre, had spent five years at Kingsholm.

After a season plagued with injury, Jason has made only two appearances for the Sharks since joining.

Dom Barrow

Dom Barrow ended a two-year hiatus from professional rugby when he joined Sharks in February 2022 after impressing Sharks coaches during a trial spell. The Sheffield-born forward, who stands at 6’8”, joined Alex Sanderson’s squad on a permanent deal.

Dom leaves the club following completion of his contract this season.

Sam Hill

Combative centre Sam Hill joined Sale Sharks in 2020 on a two-year deal after spending a decade at Exeter Chiefs. 

Known for his physicality and his direct, abrasive style of play, Sam made 150 appearances for Exeter before making the switch to the AJ Bell.

Sam has made a total of 32 appearances for the Sharks over two seasons.

Elliot Gourlay

Versatile Elliot Gourlay is yet another graduate of Kirkham Grammar School and played his rugby right across the back-line, featuring at fly half, centre and full back. 

Elliot played his junior rugby at Altrincham Kersal RFC before joining the Sharks Academy and has been dual registered with Caldy for the last two seasons.

Elliot leaves the club after 8 appearances as a Sharks and 10 points in Sale colours.

Ryan Mills

A skilled goal-kicker, Mills started his career at Exeter Chiefs, spending 12 years at Sandy Park before making the move to Gloucester. He played 26 times for the Cherry and Whites before moving to Worcester.

Ryan joined Wasps in July 2020 after making 106 appearances for the Warriors. Following a short stint at Wasps, Ryan joined the Sharks, making 8 appearances for the club this season.

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

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Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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