Sale owner Simon Orange has defended his Gallagher Premiership club’s recent high-profile spending, insisting they won’t fall prey to the salary cap breaches that resulted in Saracens getting automatically relegated to the Championship for the 2020/21 season. 

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Much speculation has surrounded the Manchester club’s salary cap finances, especially this year after the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Sam Hill and Lood de Jager were added to a stellar Sale squad already containing the likes of Faf de Klerk and Tom Curry. 

However, Orange has insisted the Sale books are open and that there is nothing to hide as Steve Diamond’s squad head to Harlequins this Friday for the restart of the delayed 2019/20 Premiership season. 

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Simon Orange guests on the opening episode of season five of The Rugby Pod fronted by Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton

Sale are seeking a first Premiership title since 2006 and Orange, whose Manchester-based investment group CorpAcq Ltd took control from previous long-term owner Brian Kennedy in 2016, has outlined the recruitment strategy fuelling Sharks’ bid to win the league.  

Appearing on the opening season five episode of The Rugby Pod, Orange told Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton: “When I took over Steve had a small squad and it was 50, 60 per cent of everybody else or the average, had fewer players and probably lesser quality if that is the right word. 

“So we came up with a strategy that within the cap if we kept it to only 32 players because he has always looked after them well. We have had the lowest injury rate in the league every year as far as I can remember. If you can look after them you don’t need 45 players so we decided on 32 players.

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“Say we spent £8.5million – let’s say that is what you could spend with injury dispensations and marquee players and everything else and the academy – if you’re spending £8.5m on 32 players rather than £8.5m on 45 players you’re going to get better players, aren’t you? 

“And that is what we have got. Our 32 players can compete against almost any 32 squad in the world. The difference is if we took 20 injuries like say Bath have in the past, then we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot and would be in a bit of trouble. I don’t know what the sums are. Let’s say the average wage is £200,000 in the Premiership, our average at Sale might be £250,000 let’s say because we have got better players but we have only got 32 of them. 

“Our books are open to the salary cap manager, we go through it all the time with him. We have no secret deals or anything like that. There is absolutely no pressure on the salary cap. In fact, I’m delighted everybody thinks we are breaking the cap because we must be doing something right with the squad if that is the case.”

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