Sale Sharks prematurely return to secret training on Monday to defy the Premiership… and plan on meeting up three more times this week
- Sale Sharks defied directives by gathering their squad for training on Monday
- Sale were only Premiership club planning to jump the gun and bring stars back
- Around 20 stars arrived at Sale HQ from 8am onwards in small staggered groups
- Sources said that players did sprint training and gym work on Monday
Sale Sharks brazenly defied Premiership Rugby directives on Monday by gathering their squad for secret training – and intend to do so three more times this week.
As Sportsmail revealed, Sale were the only Premiership club planning to jump the gun and bring players back prematurely on Monday.
And it understood all UK-based squad members – aside from three whose partners are pregnant – did travel to the Sharks’ Carrington training base to undertake training on Monday. Around 20 players arrived from 8am onwards in small staggered groups.
Premiership outfit Sale Sharks gathered their squad for secret training on Monday
While neither Sale nor Premiership Rugby bosses would confirm the extent of the clandestine gathering, sources said players did sprint training and gym work.
The Sharks did employ some form of safety measures, however. Players wore masks and gloves, and their temperatures were taken, it is understood.
Even so, Steve Diamond’s side broke the league-wide directives.
Last week it was agreed across the league that players should only attend their clubs if they required rehabilitation work on injuries.
The RFU’s Medical Services Director Simon Kemp has been leading a Professional Game Board (PGB) working group, devising return-to-play measures, but at this stage protocols for ‘stage one’ of rugby’s resumption have not yet been agreed.
Around 20 stars arrived at Sharks’ training base from 8am onwards in small staggered groups
Far from this being a one-off, it is believed Sale have asked their players to report in three more times this week, while all other Premiership clubs are patiently waiting for a green-light to return.
Sale’s move may have also broken the rules of the government’s furlough scheme.
Sportsmail understands the Sale squad have been on furlough for at least a month, with no indications that has stopped, like all other Premiership clubs bar Exeter Chiefs.
Under that scheme employees should not work while the state pays salaries of up to £2,500-per-month, per individual.
While Sale were unavailable for comment it is believed they do not think they have flaunted any rules or their sessions constituted training.
Sources claim that the Sharks players did sprint training and gym work on Monday
A PRL spokesperson said: ‘Our current guidance to our clubs is not to resume training.’
Meanwhile billionaires Bristol Bears will oppose any move to reduce the league’s £7million salary cap, and are against the scrapping of ‘marquee’ signings.
The big-spending west country club, owned by Stephen Lansdown who has a net worth of £2bn, have warned any rumoured cuts to spending will damage the league.
Lansdown said: ‘Now is not the time to take a step back and stifle progress. The Premiership is the best rugby competition on the planet. Removing the best talent would dilute the appeal and impact on its ability to compete in the global market.’
Pat Lam’s Bears will have England prop Kyle Sinckler, Fiji superstar Semi Radradra and All Black Charles Piutau on a combined £2m-a-year from July 1.
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