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Interviews - Up Close and Personal


Powerhouse centre Anitelea (Andy) Tuilagi broke his arm against Toulouse - the same one that was busted when he played for Samoa against Wales last Autumn.  Not good: Kingsley rates the 'go forward' factor that Andy (right) provides very highly.

Carl Fearns



Playing against Cardiff was a reminder to Carl Fearns (left) of his debut against the Blues in the EDF Energy Cup on Saturday 4th October 2008. After some injury problems in the early season (a result of the French tour) Carl returned to first team action at Toulouse. Carl, a prolific scorer in his Sedbergh schooldays, crossed the whitewash at Leeds Carnegie for his first senior try. At the turn of the year, Carl was holding down a regular spot at number 6, switching to number eight when Sisa Koyamaibole left the action.


Mark Cueto


Great news that Mark Cueto has signed up for another four years at Sale Sharks, his only senior club.  Mark was a round ball player in his student days until persuaded by Lindsay Purcell to give rugby a try.  He soon proved how good he is, and swiftly passed through Altrincham Kersal to make his Sharks debut at Bristol in 2001.

Mark, who will be 30 on Boxing Day, loves the club and is joint vice captain along with his one-time house mate Charlie Hodgson. His contract extension is 'one in the eye' for certain factions among the Rugby Press and messageboard who had him destined for either Leicester or the South of France.


David Doherty


Sharks' winger David Doherty has not had the best of luck yet this season.  He suffered a knee injury in the Manchester Sevens (held at Macclesfield during the Summer) and, despite the best medical attention, has not been able to make an impact on the field.  Off the field, matters are more settled: David and his fiancee Victoria are planning their wedding, scheduled for next July in Sale, with a reception to follow in Congleton.

David also reveals that he's had discussions with the coaching staff about playing at fullback.  No reason why not - go back to Jim Mallinder and Jason Robinson joining the line! David's speed and eye for a try would suit him well there. And there's the matter of a bit of a logjam on the left wing, with Ben Cohen and Oriol Ripol about.


Nick Macleod

NICK MACLEOD was looking forward to meeting old friends from his Cardiff Blues days in the Heineken Cup clash. Ironically, Nick made his Sharks' debut against his former club in October 2008. He played quite a bit of his rugby in the number ten shirt for the (then) Arms Park club, and returned to fly half for the Sharks against London Irish with Charlie Hodgson and Lee Thomas both injured. "It's always difficult fitting in at number ten," he said, "but I practised hard during the week before."

Looking back over his twelve months plus at the club, Nick (26) says, "It's been fantastic. This is a great club, with a brilliant group of guys. And Manchester's a great place, too!" There's also a great group of younger guys just waiting for their opportunity. James Gaskell, in particular, has grabbed his chance. He's got a great future with England or maybe even further!" Back at the club, there are more Welshmen about - "we're slowly and surely taking over!" As the Manchester Evening News' ace rugby reporter Neil Leigh called them, 'The Tafia' !!


SISARO KOYAMAIBOLE had a stop-start beginning to his Sharks' career. The mighty Fijian arrived via Italy and France in sisasearch of regular rugby: he said all he learned in Toulon was to train. His performance for Fiji against Wales in the 2007 World Cup has reached legendary proportions, and the way he dragged two (or was it three?) opponents with him across the line against Exeter pre-season whetted the appetitite. Sisa could be a key performer in the Heineken Cup campaign.

A deeply committed Christian, Sisa and his family devote some of their prayers to the Sharks' success on the field. He's a strong believer in the team ethos. "Fifteen players have to go out and think why we are here. Only hungry teams win," he comments.

Sisa. aged 28, weighs just one kilogram less than Andrew Sherri. I'd be moving out of their way, for sure!


Ben Cohen

BEN COHEN made his debut for Sale Sharks in the Premiership opener against Leicester Tigers - the start of part three of a distinguished playing career. It's six years this Autumn since he played for England in the winning World Cup Final - there were fourteen others in the side apart from Saint Jonny, after all. One of them is his new Head Coach and the lone England try scorer. He's never given up on adding to his 57 caps (31 tries) but knows that he has to impress for the Edgeley outfit first.

After his only full warm up game at home to Exeter Chiefs, Ben said, "It was really nice to actually get out there and play. I've been on the fringes of the side after I'd hurt my back doing some weights work in training. I felt we played alright in the first half, however we know we've got homework to do. Everyone at the club has their feet on the ground. I love the set up at Carrington and it's great to be back in England."

Cohen sees his move to Sale Sharks as being "time for change". He enjoyed his eighteen months with Brive, " doing things I've never done before and visiting places I've never visited before."

Let's hope he has plenty of ball from inside centre and can provide a left wing threat........Ben got off the mark with his first Sharks' try in the final move at Toulouse.