With current captain Dan Braid set to retire at the completion of the 2015/16 season to join the Sharks' coaching staff full-time as a Forwards coach, come season's end Sale will have a huge void to fill, not only on the field but in the dressing room as well.
David Seymour has served as vice-captain since, ironically, being usurped as captain by Braid after the 2012-13 season following the Kiwi's magnanimous leadership that helped Sale stave off relegation despite only joining mid-way through the season with the Sharks firmly anchored to the bottom of the league.
However despite taking the captain's armband on a number of occasions in Braid's absence in the seasons since, Seymour was noticeably armbandless when Sale took the field against Leicester in the Kings Of The North competition a few weeks ago with it being Tommy Taylor who was given the honour of leading the team out instead.
What to take from all this is effectively: when Braid transitions from a player to a coach in 8 months' time, don't expect Dave Seymour to be the man to replace him as Sale's captain.
Whilst the aforementioned Tommy Taylor is a very strong bet to become Sale's youngest captain since James Gaskell, don't be surprised however if the honour goes to Josh Beaumont instead.
Why Beaumont though; a 23 year-old with only 29 appearances for Sale, 26 of which came in his only full (but arguably 'breakout') season?
First of, although Beaumont is admittedly short on top-flight domestic experience (he'll presumably only have 50 or so appearances for Sale and total by the time Braid retires next season), he does have the pedigree of having served as a captain before, in this instance for the England Students team and for Durham University who under Beaumont's guidance went undefeated in 2013. Is it the same as captaining a Premiership side or even an England underage side? Of course not, but a University side - with the advancements made by the BUCS league - is still a great place to cut your leadership teeth. And speaking of pedigree, although I'm already bored of him being mentioned in every single piece written about Sale's budding star, it would be foolish to ignore that Josh's father, Bill Beaumont, will probably have some tips to offer vis-a-vis how to be a good captain and team leader.
Secondly the magnitude of Beaumont's explosion onto the club scene for Sale last season has already ensured he is an integral component of the Sharks' gameplan week-in, week-out. Not only did Beaumont take on the role of lineout captain - apparently on the advice of one Nathan Hines - when he first began his run in the first team, but Beaumont's impressive form last season; as a ball-carrier, tackler, lineout winner, try scorer etc has seen him already enshrined as one of the very best players Sale have at their disposal, with the potential to get even better. Beaumont's ability to switch between both the second and back rows is just another facet of his game that has improved his worth to the team. In short, captains need to be leading figures in their side, even after only a handful of games, Beaumont is certainly that.
Speaking of potential, of all the players currently at Sale - and I have played up the chances of many of them - should Beaumont be able to avoid 'Second Season Syndrome' an illustrious international career seemingly awaits. Beaumont's attention-grabbing form saw him duly awarded with a callup to England in their end-of-season exhibition game with the Barbarians and despite the 2015 World Cup coming a little too early for him, Beaumont - whether as a lock or a No.8 - figures to become an integral member of the English national team perhaps as early as next year.
Finally without being too cynical (although I think we can all agree a little bit of cynicism in the 'Salary Cap' era of Premiership Rugby is worth having) promoting Beaumont to captain would be a very strong gesture that could ensure the 23 year-old's head doesn't get turned if one of the 'big boys' of the Premiership come a-knocking, which one presumes they will eventually. Of course that is not to say Saracens or Northampton couldn't entice Beaumont to leave if he was made Sale captain, but such a gesture would re-affirm Sale's commitment to building their team around arguably the most promising player that has come out of the club in a number of years, sorry James Gaskell. Having an England international as captain would also give Sale a second 'star' player to market and pair with Danny Cipriani, hopefully enticing more people through the gates at the AJ Bell.
A similar situation could also happen with Tommy Taylor, with the Macclesfield-born hooker another of Sale's players being touted by the England coaching staff no less of being a future England international. Taylor only penned a one year-extension to his contract last season and will certainly be another player having tabs kept on him by some of the biggest and richest clubs in the top-half of the Premiership. Although I've outlined why I think Beaumont should be the heir apparent to the Sale captaincy, one imagines Taylor will also get long consideration for the role. Beaumont as captain and Taylor as vice-captain is a setup I would definitely get behind.
Lewis Hughes also reaffirmed his commitment to Sale Sharks earlier this week by writing most of this article hungover in his student house. Follow SharkTankRugby on Twitter here and if you do Instagram you can follow Lewis' personal shenanigans here.