Lion ready to quit Sharks

Former Lions tourist Charlie Hodgson is ready to leave Sale Sharks at the end of this season. [more]

Lion ready to quit Sharks

Former Lions tourist Charlie Hodgson is ready to leave Sale Sharks at the end of this season.

The England fly-half, who toured New Zealand with Britain and Ireland’s elite six years ago, will be out of contract by the beginning of June.

Hodgson has spent a decade with the Edgeley Park club but now admits he is considering a fresh challenge.

"I have never been in this position before," Hodgson told the Express.

"I've always had my next contract sorted long before I was allowed to speak to anyone else so this is very new to me.

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"It is a different outlook now and I am quite excited by it. I'll see what the options are and go from there.

"It is a big decision and I'm not going to rule out moving. There is a part of me which thinks what if, and maybe if I wasn't to move, I would be left thinking at the end of my career what would it have been like if I had?"

Hodgson guided Sale to a first-ever English Premiership title back in the 2005/06 season but the Sharks have failed to come close to matching that achievement in the four years that have followed.

Sale were involved in a major relegation battle last term and they now find themselves in a similar situation this term.

Mike Brewer was sacked as the club’s head coach last week, while the year ended with a 50-point mauling at the hands of Leicester Tigers.

And while Hodgson is clearly devoted to his only professional club, the 30-year-old admits that their current fortunes will have a bearing on where he decides to see out his career.

"Finding somewhere else will be a tough decision because Sale is my club and they have always been good to me,” added Hodgson.

"Being involved in relegation battles doesn't appeal to me – that is definitely a factor. Life after rugby is a factor, too – in three or four years I will be thinking about retiring.

"I'll make the decision that is right for me as a player and also for my family. Initially, I toyed with the idea of going to France but my wife has just had a hip replacement and I want to stay in England for her sake."

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