Saint-André calls time on Sale spell

Frenchman to be succeeded by Kingsley Jones at end of season after four-year reign

Sale believe they can find a way through tonight's awkward Heineken Cup match against Montauban, a cussed French outfit from the Midi-Pyrenees, without full contributions from the England internationals Mathew Tait and Andrew Sheridan, both of whom will start proceedings on the bench. Recent performances suggest they may be right.

They cannot, however, feel quite so sanguine over the loss of Philippe Saint-André, who yesterday confirmed his decision to stand down as director of rugby at the end of the campaign.

Saint-André, whose understanding of the art of rugby management is equalled only by his mastery of Franglais, will be succeeded by the former Wales flanker Kingsley Jones, currently his principal lieutenant at Edgeley Park. "I have a clear plan for taking this club forward," Jones commented, although his job will be made more difficult if, as expected, another influential Frenchman, the No 8 Sébastien Chabal, disappears through the exit door, and is followed by the brilliant All Black midfielder Luke McAlister.

Brian Kennedy, the Sale chairman and investor-in-chief, appointed Saint-André in controversial circumstances in mid-2004 – a move that led to the departure of Jim Mallinder, a highly popular full-back and captain whose coaching had started to bear fruit. But Kennedy knew a thing or two. Within a couple of seasons, Saint-André had guided the club to a first Premiership title, thereby breaking a Leicester-Wasps duopoly that had lasted seven years.

There was no firm indication of Saint-André's future plans, although he is confidently expected to return to France. At least two well-financed First Division clubs fallen on difficult times, Biarritz and Toulon, are certain to be interested, and Saint-André has long been of the opinion that if he is to fulfil his ambition of coaching his national team, he will need a measure of success in French club rugby. However, he may spend time working in the media, having carved a niche for himself as a popular television analyst.

"I am proud of the achievements of the team over the last few years," Saint-André said. "I know Sale are in safe hands with Kingsley, who, like me, has a passion for the club. I would particularly like to thank the supporters, who have shown great kindness and loyalty to me since my arrival. I hope to repay them with another trophy this season."

If it is a stretch to imagine Sale winning a first Heineken Cup title – their home defeat by Munster in the last round of pool matches hurt them badly – another Premiership triumph is well within their capabilities. They have a number of players with Test experience – Mark Cueto, Charlie Hodgson, Richard Wigglesworth, Chris Jones – who are unlikely to disappear on England duty when the Six Nations Championship comes round, and if these individuals steer clear of injury, they should guarantee the northerners a play-off place.

Wasps, who have had their own upheavals this week with the ownership of the club passing to the Wycombe Wanderers managing director Steve Hayes, are also up against it on the European front, having been thumped by Leinster last time out. Tonight's meeting with Edinburgh in the eerie vacuum of a nine-tenths empty Murrayfield is not quite the game they would have chosen as a first step towards getting their blighted season back on track, and they travel north without their captain, the hooker Raphaël Ibañez, who suffered a head injury while playing against Sale in the Premiership last month.

Several England internationals – Paul Sackey and Riki Flutey, Danny Cipriani and Tim Payne, Tom Rees and James Haskell – are back in the starting line-up, although their confidence is hardly at optimum level after the recent traumas at Twickenham. Edinburgh, well prepared by coach Andy Robinson, are feeling rather better about themselves after a couple of wins in the Magners League and may even start as marginal favourites.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn