Fixtures - Top Bar

Sale Sharks star Haley taking lessons from the World Cup

This year’s Rugby World Cup came too soon for Mike Haley but the Sale Sharks full-back has been taking notes as he aims to build on last season’s breakthrough campaign in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Haley was thrown into the deep end last year and emerged with flying colours, making the Sale No.15 jersey his own and regularly outperforming some of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most experienced stars.

And though Sale suffered a heavy defeat to Saracens in Round One of the new season, he made 100 metres and three clean breaks with 21 carries –  according to Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby,

England exited the World Cup in the pool stages after a frustrating campaign but Haley, only 21, will surely be in the reckoning come 2019 should he build on his impressive start.

Indeed, it is not just the necessary physical attributes that Haley has in his locker – he’s a self-confessed student of the game.

And he said:  “The World Cup has been great because I’ve been able to watch all the games and different styles of full-back and how they adapt their style to each game – that’s something I can really learn from.

“Watching all the full-backs under the high ball is brilliant and then watching someone like Nehe Milner-Skudder and his attacking play, how he uses his feet.

“It’s about learning and what you think you can take from one of those players then try to bring it to your own game.

“I think full-back now is very much a position where you need to be stable, like the rock at the back because a lot of pressure will come onto you. So if you’re very stable and you get an upper hand there then the team can
build an attack.

“If you look at all the semi-finalists now they’ve all got a great full-back. They’ll know whether to send the ball long, do an up-and-under, tackle, it’s that decision making.

“You’ve also go to control your wingers, speak to your 13, you’ve got to be that centrepiece just to make sure everything’s ticking.

“If you go quiet, no-one really knows where you are at the back of the field because they can’t turn around.

“No one wants to be sketchy about what’s going on behind. They want to know that if anything goes on there the full-back will there to cover up.”

Sale will look to kick-start their season on Friday against a Worcester Warriors side that sent shockwaves around the league after dispatching Northampton Saints in their first game following promotion.

And though Haley has again been given the nod at full-back, he insists that he is far from the complete package at this stage of his career.

“This year if I’m going to be getting the ball a lot I need to cut out silly errors,” Haley added. “I made maybe one or two on the weekend and if I want to progress I need to cut them out completely.

“Though it’s weird because I’d rather play badly and we win. It’s more of a team ethic we’ve got going at the moment.”

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem

Latest News

Match Report: Leicester Tigers 41 Sale Sharks 18

Freddie Burns gave a starring performance in his final home appearance for Leicester Tigers to put them on brink of qualification…

Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 36 Northampton Saints 12

Exeter Chiefs became the first Aviva Premiership Rugby side to secure seven straight bonus-point wins with their biggest ever victory…

Match Report: Saracens 27 Bristol Rugby 9

Saracens overcame a slow first half to sign off their departing club legends in style with a bonus-point Aviva Premiership…

Late change to Northampton Saints squad

Tom Wood is a late withdrawal from today's Northampton Saints team that is playing Exeter Chiefs. Christian Day comes into…

Christian Day

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 16 Worcester Warriors 14

Worcester Warriors director of rugby Gary Gold was left stunned and disappointed after Newcastle Falcons scrum-half Sonatane Takulua struck late…

Match Reaction: Harlequins 32 Wasps 13

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans signed off from the Stoop with a majestic performance as he kicked 22 points against Wasps…

Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 16 Worcester Warriors 14

Sonatane Takulua scored all of Newcastle Falcons' points - including a late converted try - to down a spirited Worcester…

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