Sale Sharks look set to climb the Aviva Premiership Rugby table this season and Mark Easter is convinced that a talented young core have them set to thrive for years to come.
Sale finished seventh in the final reckoning last term but now have their eyes on a top-six finish and with it a sport in the European Champions Cup.
Back-rower Easter made 23 appearances in all competitions for the club and at 32 years old, is one of the more senior heads in the dressing room.
The Sharks haven’t made too many changes to last season’s squad over the summer although the experienced trio of Irish scrum-half Peter Stringer, South African prop Brian Mujati and New Zealand lock Bryn Evans have all been added.
However, it is youngsters such as 23-year-old forwards Josh Beaumont, Tommy Taylor and Ross Harrison that has Easter excited about what’s to come.
“We've got Josh Beaumont, Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor who have all come through and they are all part of the team now,” said Easter at the Sale Sharks Land Rover Premiership Cup event last weekend.
“They are all guys you look to on the pitch to perform and that's massive and if we can keep that going over the next few years and keep bringing guys through then it'll be great.
“I think it would be a great thing or any Premiership team and any team would rather do that than bring someone in from the outside.
“Those guys understand the culture of the club and are getting experience from the guys that have been there before so it's all great for the club to move forward.
“I think it's consistency for us that is maybe stopping us pushing on because it is such a brutal league.
“When we have got a full squad and a fully fit team then we think that we can take on anyone but the nature of the league and other competitions means you need a really big squad.”
Sale kick off their season away to defending champions Saracens on Saturday in what promises to be a tricky opener.
One key player for the Sharks will be fly-half Danny Cipriani, who was unlucky to miss out on England’s World Cup squad after a sterling season at club level.
Cipriani rejected overtures from the likes of Toulon and Harlequins to sign a new two-year deal with Sale back in February and Easter is hoping that can cause a domino effect.
“Danny is a big player and is in the mix for England so he is obviously an important part of what we are doing so him signing a new contract was great,” added Easter, who is the brother of England No.8 Nick.
“It goes through the squad and when one player signs it gives other players a motivation to sign too and shows the direction the club wants to go in.
“So it's a big statement from the club and I'm sure a lot of boys will follow and we will try and stick with the squad for a few years and we can keep improving.”
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