Fixtures - Top Bar

Josh Beaumont: Sale Sharks capable of top-four finish

While the top half of the table may have been the aim last season, new Sale Sharks skipper Josh Beaumont believes his side are ready to mount an assault on Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top four 12 months on.

Steve Diamond’s side boasted an unrivalled home record last season, going unbeaten at the AJ Bell Stadium until their final home match of the campaign against Gloucester Rugby.

But having also drawn two of their home encounters and lost out with the last kick on more than one occasion, there is plenty of room for improvement for newly-appointed captain Beaumont – who had to watch on from the sidelines at the end of last term with a dislocated shoulder.

And the England prospect insists there is no way Sale will be resting on their laurels in the coming months, with an Aviva Premiership semi-final spot very much within their capabilities.

“When we set our goals at the start of last season, we were very much aiming for a top-six spot and Champions Cup rugby qualification, and we got that,” he said.

“But it definitely felt like we left a lot of points out there – there’s at least ten Aviva Premiership points we could have got from games, and if we’d had those we’d have been in the top four.

“So that was a huge frustration for us, but at the same time it gives us something more to aim at for this year. Top four is very much the aim.

“Our home form is notoriously strong, so if we keep that and really work on our away form there is no reason we can’t do it.

“It’s massively important we get ourselves into the top four early on. If you just look at the two finalists last year, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, they were one and two for the majority of the season.

“That just shows how important the start is. You never want to be playing catch-up, so looking at the first month for us is working out how to get the amount of points to get us in that top four.”

Despite seeing the likes of Danny Cipriani and Tommy Taylor exit the club in the summer, Diamond has recruited well in Wales legend Mike Phillips, Aviva Premiership Rugby veteran Rob Webber, and Pro12 winning fly-half AJ MacGinty.

And Beaumont is confident the blend of youth and experience will serve the Sharks well heading into this season.

He said: “It happens at clubs, you lose guys sometimes. But the players that have come in have looked really good so far, and mixed really well.

“The likes of Rob Webber and Mike Phillips bring so much experience to the group as well, having been capped a huge amount of times between them, which can only help.

“Then at the other end of the scale you have younger guys like AJ MacGinty. He is a very different player [to Danny Cipriani] but a hugely exciting one.

“It is only his second year in professional rugby really, and to see what he did in his first with Connacht you have to wonder how far this guy can go.

“He’s looked really good in preseason; he’s a great leader as a No.10, and his goal-kicking is right up there as well so hopefully it all falls into place for us.”

The Aviva Premiership Rugby season kicks off this weekend. For a full fixture list click here.

Latest News

Match Report: Harlequins 32 Wasps 13

Nick Evans capped a memorable final appearance for Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop by scoring 22 points as they downed…

Alafoti Faosiliva commits future to Worcester Warriors

Samoa international Alafoti Faosiliva will continue his Sixways career after committing his future to the Club. The 31-year-old arrived at…

Alafoti Faosiliva

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership action

It's the penultimate round of regular-season matches in the Aviva Premiership this weekend - Russell Hargreaves has the details.

Saracens name side to face Bristol Rugby

Saracens have named their team to face Bristol in round 21 of the Aviva Premiership on Saturday at Allianz Park,…

Schalk Brits

Northampton Saints team news versus Exeter Chiefs

The Northampton Saints team has been named for the Aviva Premiership Round 21 trip to Exeter. Injuries to Louis Picamoles…

JJ Hanrahan

Garvey to start for Bath Rugby in West Country derby

Matt Garvey will make his first start for Bath Rugby since January in the West Country Aviva Premiership derby against…

Matt Garvey

Gloucester Rugby make just one change for trip to Bath

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that triumphed in La Rochelle last weekend, making just one…

Mariano Galarza

Exeter Chiefs side to face Northampton Saints

Rob Baxter says it’s vital his Exeter Chiefs grasp every opportunity afforded to them as they look to maintain their…

Gareth Steenson

Leicester Tigers team news for final home game

Graham Kitchener and Adam Thompstone will make their 100th starting appearances in a Leicester Tigers shirt in the final home…

Adam Thompstone

Team News for Bristol Rugby to face Saracens

Olly Robinson returns to the starting line-up as Bristol Rugby face reigning Premiership champions Saracens on Saturday (3pm KO). The…

Olly Robinson

Four Changes For Sharks Ahead of Tigers Clash

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Leicester Tigers this Saturday at Welford Road in the Aviva Premiership…

Josh Charnley

Callum Chick not given up on top-six finish for Newcastle Falcons

Promising Newcastle Falcons flanker Callum Chick hasn't given up on helping his side qualify for a Champions Cup place next…

Jack Singleton still buzzing after baptism of fire at Worcester Warriors

Jack Singleton admits he never expected to get as much Aviva Premiership Rugby game time as he has had this…

Saracens sign Wales international lock Dominic Day

Saracens have completed the signing of Wales international lock forward Dominic Day for the for the upcoming 2017/18 season. 31-year…

Dominic Day

Tom Heathcote extends his stay at Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors are delighted to announce that Scotland international Tom Heathcote has put pen to paper on a new contract…

Tom Heathcote

Minimum standards criteria results

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has considered the findings of an independent audit report of the Greene King IPA Championship…

World Rugby welcomes Berlin Consensus Statement on concussion in sport

Expert group publishes comprehensive review of scientific papers on concussion Rugby continues to be aligned with recommended best practice Cross-sport…

Mark Lambert issues rallying call for Harlequins’ top-six push

A third season in a row without top flight European rugby is not an option for a club of Harlequins’…

Gloucester’s Henry Trinder: Top-six place at stake adds to West Country derby

Gloucester will be travelling to The Rec for their West Country derby against Bath in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday…

Henry Trinder