By Jon Newcombe
JOSH BEAUMONT admits this is a big year for him as he looks to re-establish himself within both the Sale and England set-ups.
Having captained the Sharks and played in all but two of Sale’s top-flight fixtures, the 2016/2017 campaign was something of a breakthrough season for the dynamic loose forward who also represented England for a second time against the Barbarians that summer.
But a short-lived switch from the back of the pack to second row and a torn bicep in October 2017 that required an operation – his fourth by the age of 25 – has since hindered the progress of the Blackpool-born player.
With Jono Ross the first-choice No.8 and captain and the Curry twins the flavour of the month on either side of the back row at Sale, opportunities have been limited for the 26-year-old who has not started a Premiership game since February.
“The main thing for me is to stay injury-free and get some game time under my belt and hopefully play well off that. That is all I am concentrating on at the moment,” he told TRP.
“We’ve probably got the strongest squad we’ve had at Sale for a while but competition is good and when I get my chance I just need to take it and re-establish myself.”
The Durham University graduate is in the final year of a three-year deal at the Sharks and while playing anywhere else would once have been unthinkable for the died-in-the-wool northerner, Beaumont has seen former flat mates Tommy Taylor, Mike Haley and Will Addison all move on.
“I never thought those guys would leave Sale but I’m happy here and I’ve been happy at Sale over the years. I love the area and the club gave me my first opportunity and it is my home club as it were. But you never know in this game, strange things can happen.”
On the club’s opening day slump to Harlequins at the Stoop, Beaumont concedes it continues a trend Sale need to buck.
“We’re notorious for getting off to a bad start, I think we’ve only won once on the opening day in the six years I’ve been at Sale, which isn’t a great stat.
“It seems to take that first game for us to get rid of the cobwebs and get a reaction and that is something we need to address. It was frustrating because we’ve had a good pre-season.”