Tom Brady’s head was turned by an irresistible offer from Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most successful team, but before he heads for Leicester Tigers, he has a very clear plan – secure Champions Cup rugby for boyhood club Sale Sharks and do his best to beat his future employers to a top-four place.
Sale Sharks won their first and only league title in 2006 – beating Tigers 45-20 in the final – when Brady was 15, but since then the two club’s fortunes have diverged.
Leicester have won three titles since then, making seven more finals, while Sale have not since appeared in English club rugby's showpiece event.
Steve Diamond though has overseen a Sharks resurgence – adding a spattering of stars, Danny Cipriani most notable among them, with home-grown talent such as Brady, Will Addison and Wasps-bound Tommy Taylor to create a team unbeaten at home in league action this year.
Brady has played only four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this season, but came on to help secure a vital 29-17 win over Bath Rugby last time out, and if Sharks want to maintain their Champions Cup push, another win over the same opposition this week at the Rec is essential.
And the versatile back, who has scored 16 Aviva Premiership Rugby tries in 77 appearances for Sharks is keen to give his hometown club the perfect send-off.
“No one’s really saying much about us but there’s still that chance we could pip the lads to the post in fourth so there’s lots to play for and if we can back it up this weekend,” t5-year-old Brady said.
“The top six is our target so we’re not getting complacent.
“We know our home form’s good so it’s just about picking up these results like away at Bath and then we’ll see where we’re at come the end of the season.
Last year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists Bath have failed to fire this season, but Brady is under no illusions as to the scale of their challenge at the Rec on Saturday.
He said: “Although in terms of the league they’ve not got a lot to play for the home pride is massive in Bath, the Rec is one of the best environments you could play in in the Premiership.
“They need to finish the season on a positive in what, for them, has been quite a poor one. They’ll be definitely firing and looking to get one up on us from last weekend’s victory.”
Though he admits he has not played as much rugby as he may have liked, his focus remains very much with the Sharks.
“It’s nice they have that confidence in my ability to come on and do a job. I’m confident in my own abilities, I would still like to be starting every week and so I still put my hand up regardless of me leaving,” he explained.
“I want to be playing each week for Sale because the club means a lot to me and it will do in the future as well.”
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