Halfway through his first week at the Sharks, new signing Jono Ross has said he is looking forward to getting a taste of Premiership Rugby, and battling it out for a place in the back row.
Ross joins the Sharks, from French club Stade Francais, and helped the Parisian side to a piece of silverware in his last season, the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Jono is looking to make an impact with the Sharks.
He said: “It’s been good so far, the boys have been welcoming, as have the staff. The first day was a tough day for me – it was the hardest session I’ve done in a while!
“I will look back on my time with Stade with fond memories, I won two trophies over there which was fantastic. They were a really good bunch of guys but I’m really excited to get started here. It’ll be a step up in intensity, as the first day proved; and it will benefit me going forward.” Asked why he chose to join the Sharks, Ross was very complimentary of the Premiership:
“I think if you look across the competition, the Premiership is the top competition in terms of the quality of rugby they are producing. Plus with England doing so well, they are reaping rewards from the Premiership.
“I met up with Dimes, and it went on from there. To come and speak English is a big thing, and on Monday, it was what I thought it would be: a bunch of good guys looking to work hard and that’s what I like.”
The back-row forward has had a taste of the English Premiership before, having started out his career at Saracens, and it is a time he looks back at fondly: “It was a fantastic experience for me and was a springboard in my career and showed me what it was all about. I’ve still got a few mates down there, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in London when we play them.”
Ross is English-qualified, but he is not thinking about breaking through to the England squad so far:
“My main aim is to make the side here, and not look too far forward. I’d really like to make sure I make the side, as there are a lot of quality players – with Josh Strauss coming in, and TJ Ioane, Laurence Pearce, David Seymour and the Curry’s – it’s good competition.”
He went on to talk about the emergence of the Curry twins:
“In all honestly, I hadn’t heard of them until Dimes told me about them, and from then, I kept an eye on them. 18-year-old guys playing in the Premiership is some achievement in itself. I’ve watched Tom with England, and he excelled in the game.
“I’ve kept a sly eye on them, as well as the team. It’s exciting; there is a lot of young talented guys from around the area, who want to put an input into Sale, and I hope I can help them as much as I can.
“You can never stop learning, even off 18/19 year olds, the fact they’ve gone away and got international experience will be fantastic experience for everyone in the group.”