Bruno signs new contract at Sale

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The Independent Online

Sébastien Bruno, one of the many Frenchmen engaged in the grand project of raising Sale to a level where they might challenge the best of France in this season's Heineken Cup, yesterday agreed a two-year extension to his contract, thereby following the example set by his countryman, Sébastien Chabal.

The 31-year-old hooker, generally counted among the best two or three Premiership players in his position, was not the only front-line forward to scribble his signature on the documentation. Jason White, the Scotland captain, has agreed to stay at Edgeley Park until 2009.

Unsurprisingly, Philippe Saint-André was in good humour as he celebrated the end of another successful round of negotiations. "Bruno has got better and better since he joined me here two years ago," said the director of rugby, who threatens to damage French interests almost to the degree that he defended them during his time as a Tricolore wing and captain. "He is now first choice for his country and a vital member of the our team. He feels this is the place where he will develop his game the most.

"As for Jason, the next three years will see him at his peak as an athlete. Our first-choice back row of White, Chabal and Magnus Lund have all committed themselves to Sale long-term and we can now look forward to them growing individually as well as collectively, which will be a frightening prospect for opposing teams."

There is an overpowering sense of the positive about Sale at the moment. Their Boxing Day fixture with Northampton is sold out and, assuming they find a way through the thicket of Six Nations call-ups, they will almost certainly make it through to a first Premiership final. What is more, they are odds-on favourites to secure a home draw in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.