It's been a fantastic time for Sale Sharks, from January 2013 to the end of this season, we've consistently had about 18 months of playing really good rugby.

My first year there we started very poorly, but we fought back and caught up. This year we started well and finished well, we've been good throughout so I think it's a season to be proud of for the lads.

Failure gives you the chance to be smarter and everyone at Sale did that. The back-room staff, from Dave Swanton in the media team through to the playing staff and the coaching team as well. Everyone has been brilliant.

The playing staff have been led by our fearless captain Dan Braid, he has been a massive influence on the squad and has done an unbelievable job. Special mention also has to go to Tom Brady, Marc Jones, Jonathan Mills, Michael Paterson, and Vadim Cobîlas - as a core group they've been outstanding throughout the whole season.

I could list everyone in our squad from the first team or people pushing the first team, but overall it's been a team effort.

Because it's been a long season for sure - I think I've played 30-odd games. I had a slight niggle in my foot which caused me to miss the London Irish game. 

It's fine now, and I've been able to rest and then keep light training in the hopeful event that I get called up to England, and I'm still hopeful! Fingers crossed I do get the call up.

I feel like my job throughout the season is to perform consistently and to the best of my ability for Sale and I feel like I've done that and in doing so you put your hand up to get selected for England. I thoroughly enjoyed this season and I feel like I can build on it for the next term. To be honest, I feel like I've come on leaps and bounds this year.

But I know there's stiff competition for places with England. There's Owen Farrell and George Ford who have been in the England squad consistently for a while now. They've both been playing very well.

And there's other English 10s around - Freddie Burns, Steven Myler and younger than that, Henry Slade. There's a massive talent pool in my position and you can see what Stuart Lancaster is trying to do in building competition for places throughout the team.

When you look at full-back with Mike Brown, he's probably the best full-back in the world right now but he's also got Ben Foden and Alex Goode just below him who are extremely good. Strength and depth in position is key.

England have started to play some expansive rugby this year, and the longer Stuart Lancaster is involved, the stronger the side looks. The victory against Wales was probably the best recent performance. It was very strong and they outplayed Wales in all areas, it was a great display.

The way England are moving forward towards the tour of New Zealand, it's just going to galvanise the squad even more. From the outside, it's an exciting time for English rugby.

Back to Sale though, and I really can't stress enough how great the lads have been. The win against Northampton, the 19-6 victory, was up there as one of the best, and personally for me Bath at home and Saracens away were real standouts.

Looking ahead to this weekend's action in the Aviva Premiership, I can't see past Saracens. I'd like Harlequins to win it, just because I've got a lot more friends at Quins and I'd like to see Jordan Turner-Hall, Danny Care and Ugo Monye do well - I'd like to see them pick up the trophy.

But I think the Saracens team could be just a little bit too strong, and I'm predicting a Saracens-Northampton final.

Topics:
#Aviva Premiership
#Sale Sharks
#Danny Cipriani
#Rugby Union