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New Sale Sharks owner aims to make Manchester a rugby union hotbed

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Premiership rugby club Sale Sharks has been acquired by a local investment company which is aiming to turn Manchester into a hotbed of rugby union.

CorpAcq, the Manchester-based firm controlled by Simon Orange, purchased the club from long-time owner Brian Kennedy, who spent 16 years at the helm.

The company is targeting success in the Premiership and has committed to investing in the senior squad, academy and commercial team.

Orange said he would put the finance and effort in to “close the gap between Sale Sharks and the teams above us”.

“We intend to establish Manchester as a Premiership rugby region,” he added. “The academy is one of the best in the Premiership, with 12 of our junior players involved with England at various age groups and three senior players, originally from our academy, called up to the full England training squad, and we plan further investment in order to strengthen it.

“Sale also has an award-winning Community Service Programme which we also intend to grow.”

Orange commended Kennedy’s record in charge, and said that the club has “performed resiliently” during his tenure.

Over the past few seasons, Sale has occupied mid-table positions. However, under the stewardship of Kennedy, the club won its first Premiership title in 2006 and the European Challenge Cup in 2002 and 2005.

“We are confident Simon and his team have the right credentials, energy and passion to take the club to the next level and we wish them and the club the greatest of success in the future," said Kennedy.

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Premiership rugby club Sale Sharks has been acquired by a local investment company which is aiming to turn Manchester into a hotbed of rugby union.
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Orange (right) said he wanted to close the gap with the teams above in the Premiership table / Sale Sharks
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