Seriously, what happened to the 'set your alarm' tweets from Sale Sharks the night prior to an announcement?
At 6 o'clock this morning, Sale Sharks confirmed that flanker David Seymour had signed a two year extension to his contract, due to expire at the end of the season.
Seymour, 31, has featured a staggering 160 times for Sale since moving up to Manchester from Saracens in 2009 and also served as club captain during the 2012-13 season. His new deal will run until the end of the 2017-18 season.
Last year I wrote that Seymour was one of five players that Sale must retain at all costs ahead of next season due to his combination of experience, technical ability, leadership and fervour as both a tackler and a ball-carrier.
'Boris', as he is affectionally known, has endeared himself greatly when deployed in the 'fetcher' role - pressuring the opposition at the breakdown and turning the ball over which he does with aplomb - whilst his defensive positioning, particularly around the fringes, allows him to rack up tackle en masse throughout the course of every game. Seymour's surprising turn of pace also makes him an asset both as a covering defender and as a counter-attacking option on the wings or in broken play when Sale are able to secure turnover ball.
Something that has gone under the radar this season is that Seymour's versatility - and consummate professionalism - in being deployed sometimes as the starting openside and sometimes as the replacement off the bench for any combination of Cameron Neild, TJ Ioane, Magnus Lund or Dan Braid, has been instrumental in preserving Sale's corp of back row players to ensure the collective maximum impact over the course of this uniquely triturating season. Seymour has particular taking on more responsibility and playing time in the aftermath of team captain Braid's potentially season-ending injury in January.
Meanwhile with a view to the future, although the performances of both TJ Ioane (who had somewhat surpassed Seymour as Sale's go-to openside this year, at least before Braid's injury) and the rapidly emerging Cameron Neild have combined to push Seymour slightly further down the depth chart than experienced in recent years, Dan Braid's scheduled retirement at the end of the season will require Seymour to take on an even larger slice of veteran and leadership duties from next season onwards, especially in marshalling and tutoring a young but extremely talented back-row that features the aforementioned Neild and Josh Beaumont.
There is a possibility Seymour may not be a nailed-on starter for the Sharks next season, but his impressive amalgamation of attributes indicated above means his is an influence too important to be left out of any of Sale's matchday squads next season, barring injury. Having secured an extension for one of the most influential, multifaceted and underrated statesman of the current Sale squad therefore is an excellent bit of business by Steve Diamond and co.
Attention at Carrington will now likely turn towards the possibility to extending the contracts of Chris Cusiter, Johnny Leota, Neville Edwards, and Peter Stringer, the out of contract players who have played the largest roles in Sale's season so far. I am told more renewals are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Lewis Hughes thinks 3/5 critical retentions isn't too bad. Follow @SharkTankRugby on Twitter for more news, analysis and opinions on all things Sale Sharks.