Beaumont's Column: The Sale Sharks man looks ahead to the new season for TRU

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Beaumont’s Column: The Sale Sharks man looks ahead to the new season for TRU.

‘We need to make Sale harder to beat’

We were pretty disappointed at the end of last year just because going into the last block of five games, top six and the top four were definitely in our sights.

We tailed off a bit towards the end of the season. We lost four of our last five games. That really cost us. We were disappointed, but there were also a lot of positives over the season.

Over a long period in the season, we were capable of reaching that top four. We didn’t just show glimpses of what we can do. Hopefully we will learn from it and push on.

There were moments in games where we lost control in two to five-minute periods. It’s that margin of error we have to cut out of our game and we need to make Sale harder to beat because we know how difficult this league will be this year.

It will be the toughest Premiership I have definitely been involved in I think. You look at some of the signings Bristol have made.

That signals huge intent and then teams who would have been disappointed with how they finished up last year are going to bounce back even stronger as well so we just need to try and kick on ourselves.

We are obviously, of course, disappointed to lose the likes of Mike Haley and Will Addison who have gone over to Ireland, but a part from that, our squad has kind of stayed the same and we have just added one or two players.

It is the first time I have been at Sale where we haven’t had lots of players coming in and out at the start of the season. Having that kind of understanding from an earlier point in pre-season is great because on the whole, everyone has played with each other before so it is easier to kick on during pre-season and develop.

‘This is the most competition that players have had here’

Sale are kind of notorious for bringing through good, young, English players but I think at times, you need that experience around as well.

Rohan [Janse van Rensburg] played about 12 games for us last year so he is well aware of what we are about and we are excited by Ashy [Chris Ashton] coming to the club.

They have been involved in high pressure moments and high-pressure games. Also, they have been involved in these international and elite environments so for them to help the younger players out is only going to benefit the squad.

It is noticeable that this is the most competition that players have had here. You obviously don’t know what the team is going to be, but in the past, players have played a lot of games due to depth. Now, we have two packs who are more than capable of going against each other and that will only bring the best out of players and the team.

That has helped with the atmosphere in pre-season. We had a good block of training originally to get the fitness levels up.

We had a week off, but got straight back into games and the guys are just ready to get out on to the pitch. It is nice to stop playing against each other and test ourselves against some opposition.

It was a bit mixed against Doncaster last week. There were a lot of mistakes as expected in the first run out, but we didn’t concede any points and we showed, at times, that we were good going forward.

Castres will be a much tougher test this weekend because it is our last pre-season game. It is our last chance to impress and put things onto the pitch that we have been practicing all pre-season.

Ash to make a splash

I think the owners have shown intent since they first came into the club. They are trying to improve, but they are not going hell for leather to bring in anyone they can.

Ashy has been great since coming in. He is a lad from the northwest and he has got his family back up here.

Ashy will take us up to a different level. He is very professional in his preparation and he has come from a winning environment at Saracens and with Toulon. He will push us on to the next stage. It is good to have him around and out on the pitch.

We can light up the Premiership and I want to play my part

There are always things about our game that we are looking to work and improve on. There are the finer details like exit strategies and stuff like that, but we are just looking to build on what we put in place last year.

We showed what we can offer in the back three with the likes of Denny [Solomona], Marland [Yarde], Byron [McGuigan] and now with Ashy, I think we can light up the Premiership. We are aiming to get cleaner ball to those guys and then we can be a threat to anyone.

For me, I got injured in the middle of the season last year which is never a good time to get injured. I want to try and stay injury free and play as well as I can for Sale.

That is all I have got to concentrate on really. Whether that will be in the second-row or at No.8, I don’t really mind as long as I am playing rugby. It is always exciting at this point in the year because you just want to get out there.

Quins up first

It [Harlequins] will be an interesting match to start with. It will be Paul Gustard’s first game as well so they will be highly charged.

They would have had a tough pre-season with him so it will be a really good test for us down in London on the first weekend. Each week is going to be tough. We will set some targets for the first block of the season, but we are just looking ahead at Harlequins at this moment in time.

Premiership Rugby 2018/19 - Points Table