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Aviva Premiership
Diamond confirms Sheridan departure
ESPNscrum Staff
January 24, 2012
Sale's Andrew Sheridan craddles the ball as he charges into a tackle, Harlequins v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, The Stoop, London, England, February 19, 2011
Andrew Sheridan on the charge for Sale Sharks © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Steve Diamond | Andrew Sheridan
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: England | Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks supremo Steve Diamond has confirmed that England prop Andrew Sheridan will leave Edgeley Park at the end of the season to take up a three-year contract at Top 14 big-spenders Toulon.

Sheridan, 32, has endured an injury-ravaged 18 months and only played for England once during the 2011 World Cup before withdrawing with a shoulder injury. But Toulon - who approached Sheridan last season only for the England prop to commit to Sale - are set to announce his signing this week. Sheridan has only made 36 starts for the Aviva Premiership side in the last four seasons and his departure will free up a large portion of the salary cap at Edgeley Park.

Diamond said Sheridan - who visited Toulon in the last fortnight - has admitted to him that he will leave at the end of the season. "Sheri's going to move to Toulon this summer," Diamond told the Manchester Evening News. "It's his decision.

"He's been a loyal member of the club for a long time but he feels that he's best suited for the next two or three years to try his hand by playing over in France. His words to me when he told me were that he was glad he's been here while I've been here.

"Obviously, I will be sad to see him go because he's been here at the club for such a long time but, equally, I guess you then have to look at the pros and the cons. You have to consider what he brings to the club, you also have to look at his England status, his injury status so there's a lot to take into account."

Sheridan's decision to take up a contract in the Top 14 will effectively end his England career due to their policy of only picking players plying their trade overseas in 'exceptional circumstances'. But Sheridan has admitted in the past that the lure of France could prove too strong and it seems that he has finally taken the plunge and decided to move cross-Channel.

"I've been quite honest about the fact that I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sale but I've also said to the coaches and other people here at the club that at some stage in my career I'd be keen on playing in France," Sheridan conceded last season when he contemplated the move to Toulon. "And that's not purely from a financial point of view. Playing abroad would also offer me and my family the chance of a lifestyle change. Our daughter Catrin is young enough not to be affected by school concerns.

"Obviously, you do have the financial benefits of playing in France, but that is not the sole reason. It's more about a change of environment and also speaking a different language."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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