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Sale preview 2012/13

Sale will hope to take the next step forward after opting for quality over quantity.

Exciting times at the Sharks

Unusually for Sale, they have been one of the quieter sides in terms of summer recruitment - with Sharks supremo Steve Diamond opting for quality over quantity. And there is no doubting the class of some of his new additions. Firstly, off the pitch former scrum-half Bryan Redpath has returned to the club to take over the reins as director of rugby following the mid-season exit of Tony Hanks and Diamond's promotion to chief executive. With Diamond having helped stopped the rot and guided the Sharks into the Heineken Cup, Redpath has a fine foundation on which to build. The arrivals of Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray will certainly help and there is a genuine excitement among the Sale fans heading into the new campaign at their new home in Salford. Cipriani has returned to England with a renewed hunger to reclaim a place in the national team, while Gray has been Scotland's form player since bursting on to the international stage. They will be joined by former Sale prop Eifion Lewis Roberts, back after his sabbatical in France, South African Corne Uys and Cameron Shepherd, who has been handed a lifeline after his move to Northampton fell through. Sale have seen Andrew Sheridan opt to leave the club - although his recent spell with injuries and his involvement with England meant that managed just 20 Premiership appearances in the past three seasons. There will be few tears over the majority of other departures from the club, though, with the likes of Luther Burrell, Andrew Higgins, Scott Mathie, Wame Lewaravu, Iain Thornley and Onosai Tololima-Auva'a having managed just a handful of appearances. Joaquin Tuculet, though, had looked a real talent while Tommy Bell impressed during his time on loan at Leeds.

Sale stats

Director of rugby: Bryan Redpath
Captain: David Seymour
Sky Bet odds: 14/1
Last season: 9th
In: Danny Cipriani (Melbourne Rebels), Richie Gray (Glasgow), Eifion Lewis Roberts (Toulon), Cameron Shepherd (Western Force), Corne Uys (Newcastle)
Out: Andrew Sheridan (Toulon), Luther Burrell (Northampton), Andrew Higgins (Newcastle), Tommy Bell (Wasps), Wame Lewaravu (Mont-de-Marsan), Scott Mathie (Eastern Province), Iain Thornley (Wigan Warriors RL), Joaquin Tuculet (Grenoble), Onosai Tololima-Auva'a (released)
Key man - Eifion Lewis Roberts: While all the attention will be on the likes of Cipriani and Gray, the return of the 'Fridge' (the ideal replacement for Andrew Sheridan) should give Sale the perfect platform to play off.
Prediction: 4th

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