By Milly McEvoy
For Sale Sharks' director of rugby Rachel Taylor, the time is now for her side to show what they are made of.
The North West outfit are entering their third season in the Allianz Premier 15s having recorded two ninth-place finishes and begin at home to the team who finished below the, DMP Sharks on Saturday.
Taylor believes that Sale have built strong foundations in the region, led principally by her predecessor the former England international Katy Daly-McLean, who is currently on maternity leave having recently welcomed twins.
𝗚𝗔𝗠𝗘 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 🤩
Smiles all around as the game day countdown is on and final prep begins!
Make sure to get down to the Corpaq Stadium this Saturday as we kick start our league season 💥
Grab your tickets here 👉https://t.co/MmyEB5ddGw pic.twitter.com/RUzRTIMiaB
— Sale Sharks Women (@SaleSharksWomen) November 14, 2022
“It's a balance, we talked about the development as a group and as a club and as a region,” Taylor said.
“But ultimately, we've worked really hard on what we can offer off the pitch and our off-pitch product for players.
“We have probably got one of the best off-field support networks in the Allianz Premier 15s.
“But what we've now got to start challenging ourselves to do is to make sure that our on-pitch offering is the same and that we can compete.
“That's the exciting bit in terms of this season is we've got that base, those fundamentals in place off the pitch.
“It's where we can push it to on pitch now because we want to be an exciting product and we want to show something a little bit different.
“And we've got a great opportunity to do that in this league.”
𝗢𝗡𝗘 𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞 𝗧𝗢 𝗚𝗢 ⏳@SaleSharksWomen kick start their @Premier15s league season on home soil on Saturday 19th November 🙌
🚨Don't forget ALL @SaleSharksRugby season ticket holders and U16's get in for 𝙁𝙍𝙀𝙀!#FabricOfTheNorth | #SharkTime
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) November 12, 2022
The Allianz Premier 15s has been going from strength to strength, 2022 saw record attendances at home games and the most competitive campaign to date, confirming it as the world’s leading domestic women’s competition.
Taylor hopes that that, as well as the newly announced streaming deal with the BBC that will see one game per week shown live on the iPlayer, will inspire young rugby players in the North West.
She added: “It's massive for us. Katy Daly McLean had that vision in the first place of there being an option for players to see a visible viable pathway through to playing for a Premier 15s club and put themselves in a window to play internationally as well.
CONFIRMED ✅ BBC to show one game per round for the entire Allianz #Premier15s 2022/23 season 📺
— Allianz Premier 15s (@Premier15s) November 16, 2022
“That was the dream, but we can't be naïve enough to think that it's not going to take a bit of work, it's going to take a bit of time.
“We're super fortunate that there are some really good volunteer coaches in the North West that are doing an amazing job to raise the standards around us.
“We're lucky that we've got some young homegrown talent that's coming through now and the support behind them is brilliant and it is everything that you'd want.
“You want that connection with the local club, and then the Premier 15s club. It's going to be a big build, but we say ‘the fabric of the North’, and that's what we want it to be.
“We want to have that opportunity for players to come through, and we've got the fortunate position to have some international quality dropped in there that they can learn off and grow with as well.”
Allianz Premier 15s - the elite women’s rugby competition in England. @Premier15s