Andrei Ostrikov's displays for Sale Sharks impress Hanks

Andrei Ostrikov
Ostrikov had previously played for Agen and Aurillac in France

Sale first-team coach Tony Hanks has praised forward Andrei Ostrikov after his first two starts for the club.

The 24-year-old missed the first three months of the season with a back injury and while away on World Cup duties.

The Russian finally made his Sharks debut in the 29-14 win at Agen and made his home debut in the reverse fixture.

"You try not to single too many guys out but I think he deserves a mention after the last two weeks," Hanks told BBC Radio Manchester.

Ostrikov joined during the summer from French second division side Aurillac, having worked with director of sport Steve Diamond during his time in charge of Russia.

Now back to full-fitness, the 6ft 6in forward will add to the number of players within the Sharks squad who can play second-row.

"He sometimes looks like he might not understand, but he knows what he's doing," Hanks added.

"He brings not just a physicality, but a real energy about him.

"You can see why Dimes [Steve Diamond] brought him in. He had obviously worked with him at Russia, knew what he was about and now we're all starting to see what he spoke about.

"It keeps that competition alive within the squad with Fraser [McKenzie], Kearnan [Myall] and Jamma [James Gaskell], which is what we want.

"That's what's going to ultimately make us successful in the long run."