Sale boss Alex Sanderson has drafted in Craig White, the ex-British and Irish Lions conditioning coach, in a bid to eradicate the Manchester club’s “traditional inconsistency” which could undermine their Gallagher Premiership title challenge.

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White, who has also worked with Wales, Wasps and Leicester, was a member of the Lions backroom staff on two tours (2005 and 2009) and has also worked with football’s Bolton Wanderers. He was with Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley at Wasps when the club won the Heineken Cup, Challenge Cup and three Premiership titles. 

The arrival of White as a consultant at Sale is part of a wide-ranging shake-up of the off-the-field support for the players, which includes changing the weekly training schedule and boosting the conditioning and medical staff numbers at the club.

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Sanderson, who is preparing to face Wasps on Saturday, took over as Sale boss from Steve Diamond in January and has spent his first two months examining where he believes changes need to be made to enable the squad to play to its potential. 

“Craig has started working with us on our mentality and leadership skills and the mental side of rugby is one of the untapped areas,” explained Sanderson. “I have brought about that change and whether it is going to give us an edge we will have to wait and see.

“Craig is a high performance consultant here to work on our mindset and psychological support. The players need people with experience who have probably walked a tough road themselves to be able to talk with honesty and integrity. We want to change some of the behavioural patterns to get a better performance at the weekend. He bookends the week with a Monday session and one right at the end with his expertise.

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“As a club, we want to be on more of a stable emotional keel and less of a roller coaster. For a few years, we have been conditioned to be on that roller coaster and the results show we are not there yet but we know where we are going. There is traditional inconsistency within this organisation that we are looking to eradicate.”

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