Rugby Union: Greening signs to lift Sale hopes

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The Independent Online
MANCHESTER SALE have secured what they consider a vital piece in their jigsaw for the future by completing the signing of Gloucester hooker Phil Greening yesterday.

The 23-year-old England international had been transfer- listed by Gloucester and Sale, who tried to buy him during the summer, wasted no time in bringing to Heywood Road a player who had greatly impressed the club coach, John Mitchell, during last summer's England tour to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Manchester Sale chief executive, Howard Thomas, said: "This signing further demonstrates our determination to challenge for honours and ultimately to be regarded as the Premier club in the country.

"We view Phil as the missing piece in our jigsaw of a squad which we believe is capable of achieving our objectives."

The player, who was born and bred in Gloucester, said he had been attracted to Sale because of what he could learn from Mitchell and his forward coach, Graham Dawe, the former Bath hooker.

He said: "I am hoping to play my own game, which I wasn't allowed to do at Gloucester. My coach, Richard Hill, didn't want me to handle the ball."

Mitchell said: "I think he has the ability to become the best hooker in England. You don't get too many players, especially in England, with the skills that he has. He likes to threaten the defensive line and he has tremendous ball skills."

The Scotland winger, Kenny Logan, says that a British League could tempt him and a host of his fellow exiles to return north of the border. The Wasps flyer has forced himself back into the national squad reckoning with a series of fine displays in the Allied Dunbar Premiership after being transfer-listed a month ago.

Having taken over the goal-kicking responsibilities at Loftus Road, he is back in contention for the forthcoming international season that starts with the visit of the New Zealand Maoris in 18 days.

And, with Scotland's two super districts currently showing signs of a brighter future, the former Stirling County star believes a British League would see more Scots follow Alan Tait's example and return to their roots.

"I would definitely like to see a British League," he said at the end of the Scotland squad's two-day Murrayfield get-together. "The clubs down in England want it to bring everybody up to their standard in the Five Nations. It would tempt a lot of players back up to Scotland. I am Scottish, I have a farm in Scotland and I am always going to come back to Scotland. It is just a case of when."