Sale Sharks have confirmed the appointment of former club captain Alex Sanderson as Director of Rugby. The club has reached an agreement with Saracens to release Alex from his contract and he will join the Sharks’ coaching team with immediate effect.
The 41-year-old started his senior playing career at Sale Sharks in 1998, after playing junior rugby at local club Littleborough. He went on to make 90 appearances for the club, with his leadership qualities earning him the club captaincy.
Sanderson has come in to replace Steve Diamond, who left the club late last year due to personal reasons.
Speaking about his appointment as Director of Rugby at Sale Sharks, Alex said: “I’m joining a club I know all about from my time here, but things have moved on massively since those days and the opportunity to come back home and achieve something special was just too good to turn down.
“After speaking to the owners and others at the club, it was obvious that there’s a huge amount of ambition and a real growth mindset here and that’s something that really stood out for me.
“There’s a fantastic amount of talent in the squad too – that’s clear for everyone to see – and the progress in recent years is a credit to all the players and the efforts of everyone behind the scenes. But I also believe there’s so much more potential to unlock here. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of what this club is capable of.
“Moving on from Saracens was a decision I had to think long and hard about, but I just felt the time was right to start a new chapter. I learnt so much during my time there; achieved a lot and made some friends for life, but ultimately the chance to put my own stamp on things and create a legacy at Sale Sharks and for rugby in the North West is what really excited me.
“I’m determined to give everything I have for this club and I can’t wait to get started.
Chester-born, Sanderson gained five England caps whilst playing for the Sharks before moving to Saracens, although he only made eight appearances as a player before a back injury forced him to retire. He then went on to become instrumental in the success of Saracens, after first taking up the role of Forwards Coach in 2008.
Alex was key to the development of a world-renowned defensive system at Saracens in his role as Forwards/Defence coach. His tactical knowledge and technical understanding of the game, alongside a constant desire to improve himself and others defined his coaching style on a trajectory to success with Saracens that would earn the club three European Cup trophies and five Premiership titles in twelve years.