Saracens’ long-time forward guru Alex Sanderson is set to take over at Sale Sharks as director of rugby, RugbyPass understands.

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Steve Diamond left the Director of Rugby role at Sale after eight years in December for personal reasons and skills coach Paul Deacon took over as interim head coach in his absence, leaving Sale on the hunt for a new head man.

Former England head coach Stuart Lancaster and current Newcastle Falcons head coach Dean Richards had been linked with the role, but Sanderson, who has a rich history at the club, was very much the preferred option. Sanderson made over 90 appearances for the Manchester based side as a player and his track record as forwards coach at Saracens, one of Europe’s most dominant packs over the last decade, speaks for itself. In fact Sanderson first captained Sale in 2000 at the age of 20, becoming the youngest person to captain the Sharks until James Gaskell broke that record in 2010.

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Jerome Kaino on the magic of Dupont:

Sanderson is also set for a significant pay rise with promotion to his first head of rugby role.

When the 41-year-old actually takes up the role at the club is not yet clear. With the immediate future of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup competition in doubt and Saracens season in a truncated Championship having yet to start, a decision may not yet be made on when he takes up his new role.  Sanderson has at least the rest of this season to run on his current Saracens contract and Sale may need to buy him out of it.

It’s a big blow for Sarries, where Sanderson has become a central figure over the course of well over a decade with the Londoners. The former England back row featured as a player for the North London side but came into his own for the black and reds when he stepped as the club’s forwards coach in 2008/2009, before being named forwards and defence coach.

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