Sale Sharks have today confirmed the capture of three new players for next season. The club announced this morning the capture of last seasons Cardiff Blues player of the year Michael Paterson, Russian giant Kirill Kulemin and flanked Charlie Walker-Blair. The trio will add weight and depth to a somewhat depleted Sale pack after the loss of Frazer Mackenzie, Kearnan Myall, Andy Powell and Richie Vernon.
In addition the club also confirmed that Richie Gray will be leaving the club at the end of the season to join French giants Castres. The giant Scottish lock has had a limited involvement with the club in his first season due to injury and international commitments so it appears that Sale Sharks have decided to cash in on one of the highest paid players at the club to make room for several new recruits who could be confirmed as early as the end of this week according to Sale supremo Steve Diamond.
The capture of Blues number 8 Paterson is a real coup for the club as the Welsh region were keen to retain his services. He was voted last seasons player of the year, although Diamond has admitted he is likely to be utilised in the second row predominantly. Diamond will also be well aware of Welsh’s giant Russian lock Kulemin as the pair worked together whilst Dimes was coaching the Russian national side. He should add real bulk to the pack as well as bringing the experience of having previously played for French Top 14 team Castres. Walker-Blair is a little more of an unknown having signed from Jersey, although Sale had previously tried to sign him before an injury hit stint with Exeter Chiefs.
Paterson confirmed his delight at joining the club stating “I am very excited to be joining the Sale Sharks. My Grandfather was born in England and I am English qualified, so playing in the Premiership has always been an ambition of mine. Having met with the coaches, I am excited about the prospect of joining the side next year and look forward to doing my upmost to see the team competing in the Heineken Cup the following season. I would like to thank everyone at the Cardiff Blues, especially Peter Thomas for the last three years, but the time seemed right for a new challenge and I look forward to moving in the summer’.