sale of the AJ Bell stadium

Former Newcastle Falcons player Simon Hammersley returns to his old club for the first time on Friday night with the hope that Sale Sharks, can get one over his old teammates.

A win for the Sharks would make it two wins from two after they defeated Northampton Saints on the opening day of the Gallagher Premiership.

Hammersley scored a try which helped Sale on their way last week and will hope to do the same this Friday as he continues his transition as a winger.

However, he is expecting a tough test against his ex-club: “I think we know it’s a big challenge, especially given {it’s their} first home game back in the Premiership and the win they got against Bath.

“So we know they’ll come out firing and it will probably be windy, cold but I think we’re up to the task.”

Hammersley wasn’t convinced that Mark Wilson’s time on loan at Sale will give them any advantage now he is back at his parent club Newcastle.

He said: “I think now analysis for teams is so thorough by the guys behind closed doors that teams know how the other team plays, it’s just the manner of if a team plays well can they stop it?”

“He obviously brings a bit of insight into the Sale team, me a bit into the Newcastle team but equally both teams won well first week so it will be a good game going into it.”

Newcastle’s promotion back to the Premiership after a one-year absence means that Sale has another northern club in the top division with them.

On his old club being back in the big time, Hamersley said: “the games at St James Park were always huge games and it showed how big rugby is there.

“So it’s good to have them back in the Premiership and to have the northern derby back in Premiership rugby and hopefully, it will be a good game.”

Hammersley also reflected on the news that fans of up to 4000 will be allowed back into stadiums next month and how much the potential for there to be some spectators at the AJ Bell in the new year will boost morale.

He said: “It’s obviously brilliant news, it still depends on the tiers but I think it would be great to have fans back even if it’s an away game to start with to get the atmosphere in stadiums, it all helps grow rugby.

“I think at the AJ Bell we were building some great crowds near the end of last season so the sooner we can get back to some fans if not full stadiums the better.”

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