Sale Sharks Women have announced the signing of England’s World Cup-winning captain Katy Daley-McLean as a player-coach from 2020/2021.
Daley-McLean has won 114 caps for her country to date and was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Year’s honours list for her services to rugby after captaining England to their second World Cup triumph.
This is the first high-profile signing by Sale following their announcement last week that they will be competing in the Tyrells Premier 15s for the next three seasons. Daley-McLean will bring her experience to Carrington and will be a key figure in the dressing room.
The 34-year-old fly-half is still at the top of her game and was nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year in 2019 and has ambitions to represent England at the World Cup in New Zealand next year.
Upon completion of the signing, Daley-McLean said: “I’m really excited to join such a great club and to be part of an ambitious women’s program from the outset. The opportunity to combine a player role with some coaching responsibilities is one that I am relishing, particularly the chance to share some of my experiences with a new generation of talented players in the North West.
“Aligning with such a successful men’s side, Sale Women have the opportunity and ambition to ultimately develop a side capable of competing with the dominant women’s clubs in the South, I’d love to be a part of creating that shift.”
Head of Women’s Rugby at Sale Sharks, Darren Lamon, added: “We are delighted to have completed the signing of Katy as a player/coach. Katy is a role model and her playing career speaks for itself, and I believe Katy has been playing some of her best rugby this season.
“Having Katy orchestrating the game on the pitch will be massive for our new team, but to have her influence as assistant coach, specifically developing our attacking philosophy and supporting our younger players will be invaluable.
“Part of our conversations with Katy were that we would want to use this opportunity to future proof the North West’s talented athletes – for too long local players have felt that they need to leave the region to progress to the next level and we want to show that we are going to be that next level. Given that Katy has been part of some of the best rugby set-ups in the game, to have her check and challenge everything we are doing as a performance team and also input into our Centre of Excellence, to ensure talented girls in the region receive the best opportunity to reach their potential.
“These are exciting times. The Sharks are circling and with Katy on board we are just going to accelerate the development of the North West Women’s & Girls’ game”.
Daley-Mclean continued: “I think that our aim at Sale Sharks should be to create an identity which sets us apart from our competitors and positively influences the young players who want to develop through the pathway. I am keen to help to develop talent in the region and to grow opportunities for girls and women in the North West to play the game at the highest level.
“I’m obviously really excited to get started once it’s safe to do so. It’s an exciting time to be part of this new venture and I’ll be doing all I can to support Darren from the outset.”
Image credit: Premiership Rugby