Sale Sharks title-winning side of 2006: where are they all now?

As European rugby returns this weekend, we have a look back at the famous Sale Sharks side who were Premiership champions in 2006 to see where the players are now.

<p>(L to R) The Sale Front Row of Stuart Turner, Andy Titterrell and Lionel Faure pose with the trophy following their team’s victory during the Guinness Premiership Final between Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers at Twickenham on May 27, 2006 Credit: Getty</p>

(L to R) The Sale Front Row of Stuart Turner, Andy Titterrell and Lionel Faure pose with the trophy following their team’s victory during the Guinness Premiership Final between Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers at Twickenham on May 27, 2006 Credit: Getty

This weekend sees the return of European rugby, with the Heineken Champions Cup kicking off on Friday night, as Northampton host Racing 92 at Franklin’s Gardens.

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks travel across the Welsh border to face Ospreys in Sunday’s early kick off. To mark the start of this latest bid for glory, we’ve taken a nostalgic look at the last Sale side to win a major trophy, becoming Premiership champions in 2006, and find out where they are now.

Lionel Faure, 44, (FRA)

The French loosehead won eight caps for Les Bleus, starting his career in 1999. After a five-year stint at the Sharks, Faure left in 2009, retiring at Clermont, where it all began. He’s since been involved in numerous charity events, including a humanitarian aid trip to Colombia, as well as supporting his daughter who now too plays rugby.

Andy Titterrell, 40, (ENG)

The well-travelled hooker was limited to five caps due to the presence of Lee Mears and World Cup-winner Steve Thompson. Titterrell was forced to retire on medical grounds in 2014, and took up a role with Wasps’ backroom staff, eventually becoming forwards coach. He now coaches the forwards for England U20.

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Stuart Turner, 49, (ENG)

Tighthead prop Turner is a North West native, born in Southport. After winning English rugby’s ultimate prize, he retired in 2009 with three caps. He’s since given back to the region, briefly taking charge at Ormskirk RFC in 2015, while their head coach recovered from surgery.

Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 46, (ARG)

A cult hero and Argentine legend, “Nacho” Fernandez Lobbe had a glittering career spanning three World Cups while racking up an impressive 65 caps for Los Pumas. Also operating in the back row, the versatile forward retired at Bath in 2011. He has since worked his way up the Argentine coaching ladder and is now part of the Pumas’ backroom staff.

Chris Jones, 41, (ENG)

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Partnering Fernandez Lobbe in the engine room was Chris Jones, the Sheffield Hallam-educated lock won 12 England caps and was voted player of the year during the Sharks’ victorious campaign. He joined Worcester in 2011 and since retiring has put his business degree to good use, working as a financial advisor from his Cheshire home.

Jason White, 42, (SCO)

Talismanic former Scotland captain Jason White returned from an ACL injury to captain his country at the 2007 World Cup, before joining Clermont in 2009 and retiring with the French giants in 2012. He has since worked as a sports agent but now teaches back home in Scotland, while being a major supporter of former teammate Doddie Weir’s campaign to raise awareness for motor neurone disease.

Magnus Lund, 38, (ENG)

Norwegian-born former Manchester Met student Magnus Lund won silver for England 7s at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. After joining Biarritz Olympique in 2008 and retiring back at Sale, him and brother Eric regularly travel home to Norway to visit their father, ex-Norway basketballer Morten Lund.

Sebastien Chabal, 43, (FRA)

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“The caveman” himself, the legendary Frenchman’s infamous long black hair and bushy beard, combined with huge size and power would strike fear into any opposition. Chabal joined Racing 92 in 2009, before retiring at Lyon having been part of the French side that famously defeated the All Blacks at the 2007 World Cup. He has since made numerous TV appearances and now owns a facility producing and selling wine in France.

Sebastien Chabal Credit: Getty

Richard Wigglesworth, 38, (ENG)

The last 2006 squad member still playing, Blackpool-born veteran Wigglesworth continues to turn in vintage performances for Leicester Tigers. The first player to reach 300 Premiership games, Wigglesworth’s five league titles and three Champions Cups capped ten incredible years with Saracens. He made his first steps into coaching in 2019, working with Canada during their World Cup campaign.

Richard Wigglesworth, now of Leicester Tigers Credit: Getty

Charlie Hodgson, 40, (ENG)

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All-time leading Premiership point scorer Charlie Hodgson was born in Halifax and educated at Bradford Grammar School. He grew up as an avid rugby league fan until a friend brought him along for Old Brodleians. Then 2,625 top flight points and a host of silverware later, Hodgson retired at Saracens in 2016. He has since coached briefly at London Irish, but now works for a medical technology company.

Oriol Ripol, 46, (ESP)

The only Spaniard to have won the Premiership, Oriol Ripol scored in the 2006 Twickenham triumph. The winger earned 17 Spanish caps, and joined Worcester in 2010, helping them gain promotion from the Championship before retiring. He now lives and works in Sweden, dividing his time between there and his Catalan home town.

Elvis Seveali’I, 43, (SAM)

The big-hitting Samoan international was known for his huge carries and dominant collisions. After Sharks, he joined London Irish in 2008 before spells at Bourgoin and Rovigo, where he retired in 2013. He became head coach of California women’s rugby in 2018.

Mark Taylor, 48, (WAL)

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Partnering Seveali’i in midfield was the former Wales captain and British & Irish Lion. He scored 12 tries in 58 caps, including the first scored at the Millennium (now Principality) stadium. He returned to Wales in 2007, retiring with the Ospreys the following year. Taylor has since coached Welsh age grade sides but now works as a chartered accountant.

Mark Cueto, 41, (ENG)

Best remembered for ‘the try that never was’ in England’s agonising 2007 World Cup final defeat, Cueto retired in 2015 as a Sharks legend, and one club man. Another scorer at Twickenham in 2006, the 2005 Lions tourist broke the all-time Premiership try record in 2013, scoring his 76th against Exeter. In 2016 he received an MBE for services to rugby union. Since retiring, Cueto has continued to work with Sale and is now a commercial director.

Jason Robinson, 47, (ENG), (Captain)

Captaining the side to Sale’s only Premiership title was World Cup winning dual-code star, Jason Robinson. “Old Billy Whizz” amassed 28 tries in 51 caps, and twice toured with the Lions. England’s sole try-scorer in the 2003 World Cup final, Jason retired in 2007 after becoming England’s first black captain. He made a comeback for Fylde in the national leagues, before a short spell coaching Sharks in 2010. Jason now works on grass roots initiatives and was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.