In Josh Beaumont’s latest column for TRU, he discusses the value of the Premiership Cup, Sale and their European double, the planned extension to the season and the upcoming internationals.
The Premiership Cup is a very important competition. In my first fully fit season after university, I was given my opportunity in the tournament.
It was this time in the season and I took my chance and played well and I started the next few Premiership games.
That really set me up for my senior career at Sale. A lot of these young guys have trained hard in the first block of this season, so it is a great opportunity for them to play some first team rugby at Sale Sharks. It is a great development pathway that has obviously enabled a lot of players to shine in the past for us.
I have always seen it as a development competition. When I saw Worcester’s team last Thursday against us, I was surprised!
A lot of our young players gained experience against a well drilled Premiership side because that same side put 50 points on Bristol three weeks before.
It showed in the game that we were dominated physically, but our players will have taken a lot of experience from that.
They have got that first game under their belt and they have a tough game against Saracens coming up too.
I think there maybe should be a quota of how many senior players you can put in. Don’t get me wrong, having senior players in the team does benefit the younger players, but when you put out a full Premiership team in the competition, I do feel it devalues what the tournament is about.
At the end of September, the performance we put in against Leicester in the Premiership kick started us.
Although we didn’t get the win, we felt our performance was slightly better and we improved on certain areas that were letting us down earlier on in the year.
That Newcastle game was a much-needed win for us and we put in a good second half performance there. Connacht was a game we had been building nicely towards and our second half there was probably the best we have played all season so we are certainly heading in the right direction.
We have always stuck together at Sale, not just through the hard times at the start of this season. In the six years I have been here, there has always been a close-knit group of players who work hard for each other.
We do know we still have a lot to work on and we have by no means put in a complete performance yet. With guys coming back from injury and with some of our internationals heading off, there is a lot of competition in the squad so we are keen to maintain and continue to improve standards.
I have not met him yet and I have not seen him play a great deal, but I can assure you he has come highly recommended from the guys like Faf [De Klerk], Jono [Ross] and Rohan [Janse van Rensburg]!
I am sure Dimes [Steve Diamond] has spoken to them about what he is like and they have obviously passed on a lot of positive feedback.
It is exciting because he has been playing Super Rugby all year which, as we know, is one of the highest competitions in the world. It is disappointing for AJ [MacGinty], but it is just adding to our squad depth by having another out and out 10.
The Premiership extension can be misinterpreted. You can just read the main headlines which came out last week which just focus on the season being longer, but there is more to it.
We have got two weeks in season breaks which is similar to what I am doing this week. I have had a week off and it is really beneficial.
'The expectation on players to be involved for 35 games in a season is far too much'@joeharvey34 has given his opinion on the domestic season extension & why player welfare hasn't been fully protetced. #GallagherPremhttps://t.co/bxCtZovSCm pic.twitter.com/iYoAwxJyXZ— Talking Rugby Union (@TalkRugbyUnion) November 1, 2018
We still get the five weeks off at the end of the season which is mandatory and that is really important and pre-season is less. For me, pre-season is one of the worst things about being a professional rugby player as it drags on!
I tend to prefer a five or six week pre-season rather than two months. Obviously, you want to be up to speed before the start of the season, but it can be done in a shorter space of time. It will be interesting to see how it goes. A lot of players are getting their heads around it now so we will see how it runs next year.
I played with Will since I was 18 and he has got that ‘X-Factor’ about him. He has been unlucky with injuries along the way so I think he would have had more of a shout of representing England.
I think moving over to Ireland has done him the world of good, though. It would have been an unknown going to Ireland, but he has shown what a classy player he is. He has made a huge impact at Ulster and he has thoroughly deserved his call-up so hopefully he will get some game time over the next few weeks.
On England, it will be a lot tougher than the last time they played South Africa at home a couple of years ago. They were in a huge transition phase post-World Cup, but they have been building some momentum over the Rugby Championship and from the England tour.
I am sure England will be going out to get some revenge from that series defeat.
South Africa will be missing a few players such as Faf and Vincent Koch etc, but so are England with injuries, so I am pretty sure it will be quite a close and exciting game on Saturday,
You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshBeaumont1.
Josh Beaumont was talking to TRU’s Chris Heal
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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