Sale Sharks announce groundbreaking five year deals for Academy graduates
Sale Sharks are delighted to confirm that five members of the highly successful Sharks Junior Academy have graduated and signed professional contracts with the club ahead of 2017/18.
Sam Moore, Matt Sturgess, Luke James, Arron Reed and Nic Dolly have all signed five-year deals at the Sharks, as Steve Diamond looks to produce the next generation of rugby players to follow in the footsteps of the Curry brothers, who toured with England this summer.
Brendan Thomas, Academy Manager, said: “This has been one of the strongest age-groups that have come through our system, and this was proven when the side qualified for the Finals Day back in February.
“We are really excited to see how these five players adapt and develop in a full-time environment.”
He added: “We’ve had numerous players represent England through the age-levels this season ranging from U16-19 level, to Paolo Odogwu being called up to the U20 World Championship. Our successful year was opitimised with Tom and Ben Curry being called up to the senior tour to Argentina this summer, and Tom making his debut for the national side and putting in a brilliant performance. Having these players will help the club in the long run as we look to build the number of home grown players in the first team in the next five years.”
Steve Diamond, Sharks Director of Rugby said: “These guys are the next generation of players coming through. They have all signed five year contracts and have been training with us throughout the summer, I am hoping they can take the mantle from Paolo Odogwu during at this years 7’s tournament at Northampton.
“We invest in these guys from an early age, giving them access to strength and conditioning coaches, nutritional advice and expert rugby knowledge to ensure we get the best out of these lads during the early stages of their careers.
“These guys are all products of our 100 Club initiative. We have been working with local clubs within a 50mile radius of Sale, and what you find is when these guys are playing for their local club, representing their community, they give that extra 10%. The Curry brothers proved this last year, and in the summer playing for England, Tom showed again – if you’re good enough, you’re old enough!”
Arron joined the Sale Academy at U15 level, having first played in the Tarleton RUFC U9 team. Chester born, he was also with Wigan, Sefton and Preston Grasshoppers and attended Standish Community High School. He has since been studying for A-levels in PE, religious studies and business studies at Kirkham Grammar School.
Reed scored two tries off the bench, when England U18 beat Ireland 39-20 in the International Series at Parc y Scarlets last April. He regards his other top experiences so far as being in the Kirkham Grammar School team that beat Sedbergh in two successive years. He captained the school side and also won trophies at the Colston’s and Durham Sevens. He has topped off his year by being called up to the England U18 tour to South Africa in August.
The nippy scrum-half has come through the Sharks Academy system, via Myerscough College AASE programme. He started every game for Sharks U18s in their successful season, and scored the only try of the game for Sale in the defeat by Harlequins in the Final. His rugby journey started when he played for Tarleton RUFC at U5s, and his rugby highlight so far has been starting for Preston Grasshoppers against Fylde.
A contract offer from Sale Sharks last December made Sydney-born Nic Dolly realise that he could play rugby at a professional level. A personal trainer, he had appeared for the New South Wales Waratahs U15 and U17 teams and in Sevens for the state at U18 level, having taken up the game when he was six years old. His formative clubs were at Redfield, Dural and Eastwood and he also played for Greater Sydney Rams.
He had captained Dural U19 to a Premiership triumph in 2015 and, growing up, his role models were Dylan Hartley and Dane Coles. Wayne Harvey at the Eastwood club in Sydney helped his development and understanding of the game and his parents influenced and motivated him along the way on his career path. He helped the Sharks U18s in their successful league campaign, scoring three tries on the way to the final.
Luke, brother of recent England call-up Sam, plays in the centres, but can also ply his trade in the back-row at flanker. He featured regularly for the Sharks U18 side this season, playing in either position, and came off the bench in the final. He started playing rugby at the age of 4 for Manchester Rugby Club, before continuing his rugby development at Wilmslow High School. He won Man-of-the-Match in the school’s victory in the Cheshire Schools U18s Cup Final back in 2015.
Moore plays at number eight, and has joined us from Sedbergh School. The big number eight weighs 110kg, and has featured regularly for the Sharks U18s despite a spell out due to injury, and scored one try. Sam, who is 6ft 5inches, has been a regular for England at junior level, playing for the U18s and U19s this spring, and has been called up, alongside Reed, to the U18 tour to South Africa in a few weeks time for the second successive year in a row.