Sale legend Hodgson finally decides to make move

Sale Sharks fly-half Charlie Hodgson will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

The Halifax-born 30-year-old England international and British Lions tourist will depart after 11 seasons at Sale where he has amassed a Premiership record 1,753 points.

Speaking about his decision Hodgson, who has been linked with a move to Saracens, said: "Irrespective of what has happened this season at the club I wanted a new challenge elsewhere.

"I am not getting any younger and wouldn't want to hang up my boots wondering whether I should have moved.

"Sale have always been good to me and, the fans are very special and they can rest assured that I will be giving everything and more whilst I am still a Sharks player and want to leave the club on a high note."

Sale chief executive Mick Hogan commented: "We are naturally disappointed that Charlie has told us that he will be leaving the club but would like to thank him for all his efforts over the past 11 seasons. Without doubt he will be considered one of the greatest players to ever play for Sale Sharks.

"We made it clear to Charlie that we wanted him to stay but understand his reasons for wishing to move on. We know what a difficult decision this has been for Charlie to make and the club are thankful for the early indication he has given us on his future."

Hodgson joined the club straight from University and has won the Premiership final and two European Challenge Cups with the Sharks since making his debut against French side Auch in 2000.

Saracens maintained their pressure on Premiership leaders Leicester as they inflicted a 10th-straight defeat on struggling London Irish at Vicarage Road, with a 12-6 victory.

Far from a classic, this grinding London derby encounter was decided by the boot, with young fly-half Owen Farrell kicking four penalties for Sarries and Chris Malone responding with two of his own for the Exiles.

The win moves Sarries above Northampton and into second place, six points behind leaders Leicester, but Irish, without a win since October 31, are now down to seventh with their hopes of a play-off place fading fast.

Saracens rugby director Brendan Venter was in charge for the last time before returning to South Africa with his family.

Harlequins continued their post-Christmas form with a 17-10 win over Wasps.