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McGuigan looking forward to Sandy Park return

Ahead of facing his former club Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, Byron McGuigan has revealed he and his teammates are hoping to rectify their recent results.

Before a brief hiatus for the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Sale Sharks suffered consecutive defeats to Northampton Saints and reigning Premiership champions Saracens.

The utility back has explained what the team have been up to during the break.

“We’ve looked back at the Northampton game and we’re very disappointed in ourselves with the performance we put in at home,” he said.

“The past two weeks have been tough but we’ve been working hard. We’ve sorted our mindset, which wasn’t up to standards against Saints, as well working on our skillset and how we manage the game.

“We’ve got five games left now where we can rectify our recent results. We’re focussing on moving forward as a team between now and the end of the season.”

McGuigan spent two years at the Devon club before joining the Sharks, playing 17 times and scoring three tries – a stat that he has already beaten at his current club.

Sandy Park has a reputation for vicious conditions, prompting the 27-year-old to correct it to ‘Windy Park.’

“It’s a tough stadium to play at because the wind can blow in any direction,” he explained.

“I’ve played games there where neither team could leave their 22 in the first and second half. Other times it can be swirling wind, so it’s just 80 minutes adapting to the conditions.

“It’s quite similar to the AJ Bell Stadium in terms of surface though and I’m looking forward to going back. I’ve got a lot of good friends down there.”

Finally, the back shed some light on his involvement in the recruitment of Josh Strauss ahead of next season.

Scotland international Strauss is joining the club on a three-year deal, and Director of Rugby Steve Diamond revealed that McGuigan played a key role in the move.

“We’re really good friends having played at Glasgow together and both being from South Africa,” he said.

“I would’ve said anything to get him here, and have another one of my good friends here. But the ambition of the club with the new owners is good, and players like Josh will only help us achieve our goals.

“The players are buying in to the ambition, but we also need key signings like Josh to reach that next level. I stressed that to him and I think he recognised that he can help.”

This article was written for the Sale Sharks website, and the original post can be viewed here.



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