Toulon sign up Sale captain Dean Schofield

Sale Sharks are set to lose their captain to Toulon who are now coached by former Sale boss Philippe Saint-Andre.

Sale stalwart Dean Schofield has revealed he will leave Edgeley Park at the end of the season so that he can take up a lucrative two-year contract that will double his wages and see him playing in the Top 14.

The move is exactly what happened 12 months ago when Saint Andre convinced the then Sale skipper, Juan-Martin Fernandez Lobbe to leave the Sharks for the Cote d’Azur.

Whilst Fernandez Lobbe’s departure had been anticipated Schofield’s exit has come as something of a shock as he has been at Sale for all his professional career after making his debut back in 2001.

Schofield is now 31 and the move will effectively be a pension for him as he will be earning a six figure salary which is more than twice his current annual pay packet.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the club and would like to thank coaches Jim Mallinder, Steve Diamond, Philippe Saint-Andre and Kingsley Jones for all their help and guidance over the years and for having faith in me, and all the players and staff at the club who I have the pleasure to work with,” Schofield told the Manchester Evening News.

“I have just turned 31 and the opportunity to join Toulon gives me a chance to play in the French Top14.”

“I have made so many friends whilst playing for Sale Sharks and am sure in years to come I will be back sat in the stands watching the team play.

“I may have signed for Toulon but there is a lot of rugby to be played this season and I am looking to finish my career at Sale by winning as many games as possible.”

Whilst being disappointed at losing not only his captain but also one of the English Premiership’s most highly-rated locks, Sale Sharks director of rugby Kingsley Jones paid generous tribute to Schofield’s contribution to Sale’s success over the past decade.

“Dean has given excellent service over the years and I would like to thank him for his 100 per cent contributions on and off the field.” said Kingsley Jones.

“He has been a model professional but has decided he wants to play in France and we wish him well.”

“Dean’s got no immediate family here so it’s an opportunity to do something different in his life so I fully understand his reasons though obviously we will be sorry to see him go.”

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