Statement: Sale Sharks have confirmed their list of leavers - Ruck

Statement: Sale Sharks have confirmed their list of leavers

Sale Sharks can confirm the departure of ten players following the conclusion of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season. 

The club has already confirmed the departures of Sam James, Manu Tuilagi, Cobus Wiese, Cameron Neild and Agustin Creevy. 

In addition, forwards Tom Ellis, Cal Ford and Ewan Murphy, academy fly-half Finn Rogers and full-back Telusa Veainu will also leave the club. 

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “We’re saying goodbye to ten lads who, whether they’ve played a lot or not as much as they’d have liked, have contributed to what has been a massive squad effort this year.  

“No-one has left on bad terms and that’s testament to the blokes they are. They’re all friends and the door is always open for them to return. It’s never nice when friends move on, but it’s been done for the right reasons on both sides. 

“We thank them all for their efforts and I wish them all the happiness in whatever comes next.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank all ten players for their service to the club and we wish them all the very best for the future. 


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Fixtures for the Six Nations - Round 1

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”