Sale Sharks long-term plans have received a huge boost with the news that exciting teenage star Henry Thomas has signed a two year extension to his existing contract with the Edgeley Park club, committing the tighthead prop to the Sharks until June 2014.
Thomas's progression at the Aviva Premiership Rugby club has been little short of stratospheric since he was installed as leader of Sale's Jets side last summer.
Having impressed in the Jets' early-season fixtures, Thomas was first called up into Sale's senior squad for the league trip to London Irish in late October and due to a combination of injuries, international calls and his own superb form, has since established himself as one of the real bright spots in what has been another trying winter for the Sharks.
A series of man-of-the match displays also earned the former Millfield School pupil a call-up into the England Under-20s squad at the turn of the New Year as well as glowing testimonials from a host of admiring rival coaches.
So to have secured the 19-year-old's services until the summer of 2014 represents one of the most astute pieces of business done since executive director of sport Steve Diamond arrived at the club in February.
"Henry is a great prospect who has a great attitude, great work ethic and it’s a massive plus for the club with him agreeing to re-sign," said Diamond.
"He belies his age and he is exactly the type of player we need, to help us get to where we want to be."
For his part, Thomas who is in the first year of an economics degree course at Manchester University, admitted his delight at committing to the Sharks until 2014.
“I’m very happy to extend the length of my contract, and to be given the opportunity to play for the club for another three years," said Thomas.
"I’m really looking forward to pushing forward next year, along with lots of new faces arriving at the club. I’ve probably already exceeded my personal targets for the season already, and it didn’t take me long to sign up for the chance to stay with the Sharks.”
Already a shoe-in to be named as Sale's young player of the year, Sharks head coach Pete Anglesea believes that if Thomas maintains his stunning progress, there is no limit to what he can go on to achieve in the sport.
"Henry has been outstanding for us since the New Year and in terms of how good he can become, it's down to him," said Anglesea who instantly recognised Thomas's shining qualities when selecting him as captain of the Jets side last summer.
"He has got all the right ingredients, he is performing really well week in, week out; he is level headed; he is grounded and he is willing to learn.
"We're very blessed to have had both Henry and fellow young prop Lee Imiolek this year. The club could have been in a lot worse condition had we not had them and it says volumes for them that we have almost become reliant on two teenagers!"