Sale Sharks U18 will be brimming with confidence after they returned from the recent tour of Ireland with wins over their Munster and Leinster counterparts.
The squad which spent the first three days of the tour in Limerick managed to outplay Munster with a 26-19 triumph with their off-loading and ball handling technique being the standout feature. They did show great skill of defence at the end to ensure Munster's fight went in vain.
Their encounter against Leinster was scheduled at University College in Dublin as the Women's World Cup was coinciding on the side and Sharks proved too strong for the Irish regional team as they trounced them 41-19. The squad then witnessed the England Women's game against Italy before returning back home.
Head coach Warren Spragg believes the tour has provided the side with huge exposure that will help them in developing as a team as well as individually.
"As a coaching group we were really pleased with all aspects of the tour. The facilities at University of Limerick and University College, Dublin were top quality and it was a great experience for our lads to face a different challenge on the pitch.
"The players took on a lot of responsibility in terms of match preparation, setting their own expectations and reviewing their own development on and off the pitch.
"The atmosphere for the Leinster game in particular was quite hostile at times and we believe that this type of exposure will prove valuable in the coming years as some of these players progress into the senior Sharks squad."
Academy Manager Brendan Thomas thanked everyone for the extended support and believes the club has a bright future with huge potential.
"A huge thanks must go to Sale Sharks Supporters Club for their continued support of the Academy tours as well as Board members Fran Cotton & Steve Smith of Cotton Traders who generously supported the tour. With Dimes, Fran & the new owners Simon Orange & Ged Mason driving towards 75% of the senior squad to have come through the Academy & backing what we do, it’s a great place to be right now for players & staff alike.
“The players were outstanding representatives of the Sharks both on & off the pitch & gained very positive comments from all of our hosts on tour. They should all be proud to a man. The players set their own code of conduct & a part of that was the behaviours they expected of themselves. Well done lads, good job.
“This group has some outstanding players & six of which have already been given long term contracts at Sharks. There were certainly quite a few more who caught the eye on this tour & put their hands up for consideration also.
“Finally, a big thanks from me for the dedication & professionalism of the Academy staff on tour. It was a great shift & our time together will only benefit us as a high performance working group through the season ahead”
The Sale Sharks U18 will now face Leicester Tigers and London Irish in the England Academies Festival at Warwick School on 18th August.