NEW Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson is delighted to be "home" and can’t wait to get started.

Sanderson ended his long association with Saracens, where he was assistant coach, to become boss at the club where he began his playing career.

The former back-rower made 90 appearances for Sale after making his debut in 1998 and won his five England caps while playing in the North West.

He fills the vacancy left by Steve Diamond’s departure from the AJ Bell Stadium for family reasons with Paul Deacon having stepped in as interim coach.

“I’m joining a club I know all about from my time here, but things have moved on massively since those days and the opportunity to come back home and achieve something special was just too good to turn down,” said Chester-born Sanderson.

“After speaking to the owners and others at the club, it was obvious that there’s a huge amount of ambition and a real growth mindset here and that’s something that really stood out for me.

“There’s a fantastic amount of talent in the squad too – that’s clear for everyone to see – and the progress in recent years is a credit to all the players and the efforts of everyone behind the scenes.

“But I also believe there’s so much more potential to unlock here. I don’t think we’ve even begun to scratch the surface of what this club is capable of.

“Moving on from Saracens was a decision I had to think long and hard about, but I just felt the time was right to start a new chapter.

“I learnt so much during my time there. I achieved a lot and made some friends for life, but ultimately the chance to put my own stamp on things and create a legacy at Sale Sharks and for rugby in the North West is what really excited me.

“I’m determined to give everything I have for this club and I can’t wait to get started.”