7th in the Premiership, 2nd in Pool 2 of the European Challenge Cup (due to the postponement of Castres vs Pau last weekend), and Pau at the weekend. There's your context, let's get down to some questions:
All depends on how Sale have been set out for the first sixty minutes. Imagining the Sharks have fielded their (currently preferred) full-strength team to start, there a number of potent options that could theoretically come off the bench and make an immediate impact - Eifon Lewis-Roberts, Brian Mujati, Andrei Ostrikov, David Seymour, Peter Stringer, and Johnny Leota are all Premiership-standard players capable of either aiding a comeback effort or consolidating a lead. In that instance then I believe yes they do, but Sale's depth is notoriously shallow and a number of injuries in key positions could rapidly decimate Sale's replacement-level strength, especially if, like they did at the weekend, they also choose to rotate the side and rest their first-team starters.
If Andrei Ostrikov and Vilhami Fihaki continue to play in the same vein as they did at the weekend, 100% yes. Ostrikov was poor against Newport whilst Fihaki was Sale's standout performer, carrying with purpose and enthusiasm. Beaumont is arguably still slightly 'light' for a Lock but his added mobility and lineout presence could prove decisive in the last twenty minutes of a match especially with a fired-up and destructive Fihaki taking the onus on ball-carrying. Unconventional maybe, but sometimes you have to pick on form.
Unfortunately probably not at all. Unless there is a sudden and dramatic increase in Sale's attendances and revenues, it is hard to envision the Sharks being able to add to their present salary expenditure (well under the current cap of £5.1million) in line with the recent cap increases. Whether they want to admit it or not, the Premiership's decision to increase the cap was clearly done to protect the interests of a small number of the richer English clubs who can afford to spend £7million plus a year on players. Alas, Sale are not one of them.
In my personal opinion Sale's wingers ranked in order of ability are:
How I believe Sale see their depth at winger:
In relation to why Brady seems to have fallen down the pecking order, I believe with Addison and Arscott rightly entrenched as Sale's go-to wing pairing and Edwards' status as a new signing with the ability to offer something different (i.e. blazing pace and acceleration) it is only natural that Brady has retained his spot as fourth-choice winger following Mark Cueto's retirement, rightly or wrongly.
Tough one. In a perfect world, I would've liked to see Jim Mallinder or Rob Baxter take over for a long-term approach. That said, with Michael Cheika, Wayne Smith, and Mallinder among a handful of names who have all come out and said they have no interest in the job it has put the RFU in a difficult spot.
That said, Eddie Jones is by no means a consolation prize. Jones has experience of coaching at the highest levels in both hemispheres, played a key role in South Africa's victorious 2007 World Cup campaign, and masterminded the biggest upset in international rugby history as part of Japan's impressive third-place finish in this year's tournament. I'm a firm believer that Stuart Lancaster took England as far as he possibly could in his four years at the helm but Jones has the nous, experience, and ability to take England to a truly world-class level.
Where do I start?
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