Sport In The City: Sale Sharks

Originally featured on The Mancunion

There’s more to sport in Manchester than City and United: this week we highlight Rugby Union’s Sale Sharks

Whether it’s a new sport, a team about whom you did not know, or just an event that interests us, we hope that we will be able to entice you to explore the wide sporting variety that the city has to offer during your time studying at the University of Manchester.

In the spotlight this week: Sale Sharks (Rugby Union)

Well… what is it?

Sale Sharks are a professional Rugby Union club that currently compete in the national Aviva Premiership and have historically proved to be one of the leading Rugby Union clubs in the north of England. Founded 155 years ago in 1861, Sale Sharks are an offshoot of local neighbours Sale FC, who are still based at the original home of Sale Sharks at Heywood Road in Sale. Yet in order to accommodate for the large number of both home and visiting fans, the modern day Sale Sharks presently cross codes with Rugby League, but only through sharing the same ground as local outfit Salford Red Devils. During the current league campaign, Sale Sharks have proved formidable at home, and are unbeaten ahead of our featured match against high flyers Exeter Chiefs, totalling four wins and one draw. Therefore, you can certainly expect a high level of rugby on offer for our upcoming Sport in the City.

How do I get there?

Sale Sharks play their home games at the AJ Bell Stadium, which might not be in Sale itself, but is thankfully situated not too far out of Manchester City Centre in Salford. In terms of public transport, which I would expect to the most commonly-used method of student travel around Manchester, you have two options: bus or tram. From Manchester, the number 67 conducts a regular service to Liverpool Road, leaving only a short two minute journey by foot to the stadium. Make sure, however, to catch the bus from Victoria Station and Deansgate and not Piccadilly Bus Station. The tram is another option, although its nearest stop to the stadium, Eccles, is inconveniently situated quite a long walk from the stadium itself. There is, however, the option to hop on the 67 bus after departing the tram at Eccles, to speed up your travel time should you strongly wish to catch the tram. Should you wish to drive or catch a taxi to the stadium, the ground is conveniently located for drivers, less than 500m from Junction 11 off the M60 with parking available for 600 cars.

But how much does it cost to get in?

For Sale Sharks’ upcoming home match against Exeter Chiefs this Saturday 13th February, tickets are available at the venue and also online. In terms of pricing, luckily an afternoon out watching the Sharks shouldn’t take a big chunk out of your student loan (if there’s anything left of it since its arrival) with student concession tickets available for those aged 16-22 with valid student ID. Concessionary seated tickets are available for £22 with standing on sale for £15.

What are the facilities like? 

In the words of the Sale Sharks official website ‘the newly built 12,000 capacity AJ Bell Stadium has state-of-the-art facilities to provide you with the most comfortable experience to watch the Sale Sharks’. On top of the larger West Stand, which holds up to 4,500 people with the remaining stands holding 2,500 people each, the well-maintained and modern fibre-based grass pitch ensures a great playing surface for both teams, whilst the ample parking space and insertion of ten kiosks at concourse level ensure that the stadium addresses all areas for players and spectators alike.

Tell me something I didn’t already know…

Having played in England’s top flight since 1994, Sale Sharks have boasted a number of star attractions with players from all over the world turning out for the Sharks. At the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Sale Sharks had three of their own players representing their individual countries, Phil Mackenzie (Canada) and TJ Ioane and Johnny Leota (Samoa). Meanwhile, the likes of 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson, French international Sebastien Chabal and the Argentine Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe have all donned the Sale Sharks colours in years gone by. Sale Sharks play in royal blue at home and electric yellow away from home, and the Sharks recorded their largest ever victory against El Salvador, six years ago, in 2010, recording an enormous victory of 97-11. Their biggest defeat, however, came at the hands of Bath, who beat Sale Sharks 84-7…at home!

Finally, when can I see this in action?

Our featured event this week has come to you from Sale Sharks, and their upcoming home game against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday 13th February at the AJ Bell Stadium. For more information please visit: http://www.salesharks.com/

If you have any requests for local teams, sports or events taking place in Manchester, or if you wish to be involved, please contact: sports@mancunion.com.

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