Sale Sharks tap into Sir Alex Ferguson knowledge ahead of Premiership final with Saracens

Adam Kyriacou
Sir Alex Ferguson sale sharks premiership saracens

Sale Sharks have tapped into the winning mindset of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of the Premiership final on Saturday.

The club are preparing to face Saracens in English club rugby’s showpiece match this weekend, with the fixture taking place at Twickenham Stadium.

And it seems they are looking to gain any advantage they can in the lead-up to the meeting, as City A.M revealed they were given a talk from Ferguson.

Ferguson, 81, is a giant of football, having won 25 major titles in his period at Manchester United and has been to watch Sale play at home in the past.

According to City A.M, he spoke to the squad and also held one-to-one sessions, as Sale Sharks prepare for their first Premiership final since 2005/06.

“To lose, you don’t want to lose,” Ferguson is heard saying via a video posted by Manchester United. “I wish you all the best on Saturday.

“The thing is, I’m telling you, don’t wear a white suit for Christ’s sake [laughs]! Concentration – you’re not there to enjoy it, you’re there to win.”

Asked how Ferguson’s visit materialised, Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson joked: “We’ve got a special Man United red phone like the bat phone in the corner of the office for emergencies.

“No, I got a call from Ged (Sale part-owner Ged Mason) asking about it and it fell into place. They are good friends with a shared investment with racehorses.

“We thought we would try and wring a little bit of gold out of Sir Alex – and he didn’t disappoint.

“He had the lads on the edge of their seats and he came up with some real good bits of advice – not new stuff, but when it comes from Sir Alex’s mouth, it is gospel, isn’t it?

“It is small percentages of what you can add, an increased feeling of how special this week is. It was good to have him in and good to have him in our corner.”

Sale will head into the fixture against the league’s table toppers as underdogs, with injuries to Dan du Preez and Ben Curry not helping their cause.

But anything can happen in finals rugby, and Sanderson’s team will back themselves to end their league drought with George Ford directing at fly-half.

Sale qualified for the final after beating Leicester Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium, while Saracens overcame Northampton Saints at the StoneX Stadium.

Sanderson praised by Mako Vunipola

Saturday’s fixture will see former Saracens coach Sanderson face off against his old side, and ahead of the match, Mako Vunipola lauded his ex-boss.

“Alex has been great for me. Before he’s a coach, he’s just a great person,” the England loosehead prop told Saracens’ official website before the game.

“When I was 17, he was the first to give me a chance to play at this level. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and you know that he feels everything on the field. That doesn’t take away from his ability as a coach and the detail he can put into a game.

“We know that Sale will be pumped, and a lot of what they put out on the field will be down to what he has put into it.”

He added on the challenge awaiting Saracens this weekend: “Sale have shown that they can stick with anyone, and they’ve dominated a lot of teams.

“We know it’s going to be a battle, and in any big game, physicality is huge. If you can’t get up for the final, you shouldn’t really be playing.”

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