First of all, it's good to be back. The annual Premiership Sevens competition is in my mind, as good a point as any to welcome readers back to domestic rugby and to the 2015-16 season.
Depending on who you ask, the annual preseason Premiership Sevens competition is either an exhilarating warmup that showcases the most exciting elements of our beloved game to get fans eagerly anticipating the official start of the new Premiership season, or conversley, is nothing more than a gimmick designed to placate and extract more money from fans, delirious from the monotony of a rugby-less summer. Whilst Newcastle Falcons' fielding of seemingly the entire Scottish International Sevens team did little to help the notion that the Premiership Sevens is a gimmick competition, I am personally of the viewpoint that the Sevens is a fun way to pass a weekend in August and does serve a practical purpose as it allows less experienced players and academy graduates to gain valuable gametime and make their case for inclusion in their club's first team proper.
Nonetheless with Sale having not made the tournament's final round/day since they hosted their pool at Edgeley Park back in the 2012 competition, and their chosen squad for Saturday's matinee comprising an inexperienced, ragtag group of individuals with little previous Sevens experience that encompassed first team players, recent graduates from the Sharks academy, a number of Sale Jets and a couple of guest/trial players imported from the actual Sevens circuit, expectations for Sale were admittedly low in a pool that featured teams such as Newcastle and Worcester, who actually take the Sevens seriously.
However despite at times being faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, Sale's representatives for the afternoon somehow fought - occasionally literally - their way to a surprise second place in Pool D, recording a win, a last-second draw and a loss, to secure a berth in next Friday's quarter-finals where they will match up against Newport Gwent Dragons.
I won't recount the events of Saturday afternoon blow-by-blow as I'm working on the assumption that most of the people reading this are aware of the manner in which Sale snuck their way into next week's Final round, and as much as I do enjoy watching Sevens rugby, regardless of how Sale fare on Friday, it will have very little effect on Sale's actual 2015-16 season. So instead of focusing on this weekend, I'll instead look beyond that to the fifteen-man game and see what we can takeaway from Sale's performance on Saturday in relation to the return of domestic rugby union.
You there! Please do consider following @SharkTankRugby on Twitter for more opinions, news and analysis on all things Sale Sharks. I might even start doing gifs at some point.
To all the readers of this claptrap.
I am painfully aware of how inactive SharkTankRugby has been over the last few weeks and therefore how little I have been contributing to the upkeep of our shared Sale Shark-hub.
Part of the reason for my desertion of rugby-centric writing endeavours came because I have spent the previous two weeks working with our friends at Talking Rugby Union up in Preston who had organised a work placement for myself. Whilst I was extremely grateful for the fantastic opportunity they provided for me over the last fortnight, spending around seven hours daily following and covering the breaking rugby news of the day meant that when I eventually got home, I was in no mood to think or write about the egg-shaped ball.
The other reason is that there has been precious little in the way of actual, concrete Sale Sharks news to discuss, analyse or carefully dissect. This is to be expected - we have reached the dog days of summer after all - especially with the upcoming World Cup pushing the start of the new Premiership season back by six weeks. So short of posting detailed breakdowns of what Brian Mujati's latest Instagram post could mean, I did not believe there to be any relevant news to feature on this here website, a decision I am sure most agree with.
Anyway the good news is we have passed the apex of summer monotony. As August continues to progress, news relating to our beloved aquatic rugby club will once again begin to filter as the season draws closer, which in turn allows this website to produce a far greater amount of content than we've had available in the last six weeks or so. In the meantime I decided to write this post just to reassure my fellow Sale fans that this website is indeed still alive and kicking and that there are quality pieces on the horizon.
Said pieces - unless punctured by a long-awaited confirmation regarding the signing of a former international South African prop - should start this Saturday (22nd) with a detailed write up of Sale's performance in their Singha 7s group.
And although I haven't officially decided on when each of the below pieces will be published (or indeed written), rest assured all of these articles will be online and available to read between now and the beginning of the World Cup (September 18th):
And of course, as always, if there are any topics you, the reader and supporter of this website would like me to touch upon, do get in contact with me @SharkTankRugby on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org over email.