As winners of the English premiership, Sale Sharks have secured the top English seed for the 2006/07 Heineken Cup tournament.

Sale Sharks upset the odds by clinching the Guinness Premiership title courtesy of a well-taken 45-20 victory over Leicester Tigers in the Final on Saturday, thus becoming the first side – in four attempts – to be both League leaders and Champions.

Tries from Mark Cueto, Magnus Lund, Oriol Ripol and Chris Mayor led Sharks to victory over Tigers in Twickenham Stadium.

As the 2005 European Challenge Cup champions, and 2006 Heineken Cup quarter-finalists, the English champions have their sights set on Europe.

“It has been a long journey with highs and lows, and this is a great achievement for us,” said England star Hodgson, who kicked 23 points in miserable conditions.

“We want to progress as a club and be a dominant force in Europe, and this is the first step in that direction.

“The test will come next season, and whether we can continue in the same vein.”