Peter Stringer and Brad Thorn don’t share too many attributes as rugby players, but the Irish scrum-half may yet match the Kiwi by stretching his professional career beyond his 40th birthday.
Stringer will suit up for Sale Sharks next season having made the switch from Bath and, at the grand old age of 37, has already served notice of his intentions by finishing second in the squad’s pre-season fitness tests.
“I met with the coaching staff before I signed. They said they were keen to get me up there and I said I was coming up to play,” he explained, having been announced as a pundit for TV3’s World Cup coverage.
“That’s all I ever wanted to do and that’s why I’m making the move again. I just want to be able to play in a top league like the Premiership. I’m there to compete for a starting place.”
Capped 98 times for Ireland, Stringer will compete for the starting slot with Scotland’s Chris Cusiter and up and coming England U20 number nine James Mitchell, an academy graduate from the Sale ranks.
Leinster had been mentioned as a possible suitor, but a switch that would have grabbed the public’s imagination was prevented by differing wants and needs.
“There was a bit of chat, but it was a short term thing. I suppose I wanted that security of a longer-term contract and the longer the better I can get. There’s not too many clubs dishing out three year contracts to 37-year olds.
“But I’m still feeling in great shape and that I have a lot to offer.”
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