Fast forward 13 years and Ostrikov has over 100 appearances in a Sharks jersey, and at 29 years of age, has plenty of rugby left ahead of him.
“I am from a small part of Moscow where everyone loves rugby. I had been playing for two years at junior level when I was selected for the U19 national team,” he explained.
“After four games at the junior World Cup in Dubai, I got an invitation to a two-week training camp in Agen, France. At the end of it, they offered me a three year deal.”
He then made the switch to fellow French side Aurillac, where he spent two years before moving to Manchester to link up with Steve Diamond – and not for the first time.
The Sale Director of Rugby spent a year coaching the Russian national team, where he and Ostrikov first met. When Diamond left that post to return to the Sharks, he brought the 6-foot-8 lock with him.
“Steve Diamond is a hard man, a hard character. He is a very good motivator and he has been the same since he was in Russia,” said the 29-year-old.
“He is a great coach and he has an old-school approach which you need sometimes in order to take you to another level, to push you forward.”
In recalling his favourite rugby memories, Ostrikov showed a fondness to his spells under Diamond both in Russia and Manchester.
It was under Diamond’s stewardship that the nation qualified for their first Rugby World Cup in 2011, although Ostrikov missed out on the tournament through injury.
“Qualifying for the World Cup was a very emotional moment, especially as we beat Romania at home to seal it. I missed the tournament but I travelled with the boys around New Zealand, and that was very special.”
But as he looked back on his time at Sale, Ostrikov remembered his favourite memory as a match at Kingsholm in 2012.
“We needed to beat Gloucester by six points or more to qualify for the Champions Cup and we did it. That is a great memory of mine.
“Every time we’ve played in the European Cup, against teams like Toulon, Clermont and Munster, it has been very special.”
But he didn’t stop there, and as he continued to speak his affection for the club he has now spent six seasons at became clear. Ostrikov was born in Moscow, but he feels very much at home in Manchester.
“Every game here is a big experience and I really enjoy my rugby here. There are no easy games in the Premiership and that makes you a really strong player.
“Sale is like my second home. It’s my sixth season and this club is something very special to me. I really feel like I am part of this club and I am looking forward to lots of new challenges here.”
Ostrikov revealed a drive and determination to win something at the Sharks, and having put a ten-game losing streak to bed, he is confident they are moving in the right direction to do so.
New ownership at the club could see Sale push towards silverware in the near future and the Russian is excited for the challenge.
“I’m confident that this can happen. Next year we will achieve more than we have done before as a group,” Ostrikov asserted.
“This year was very tough and every team has a bad season from time to time. We’ve now won four in a row and we want to get our home record back. We are still looking at the top six this season.
“I want to win something, that’s a dream for everyone. It would be great to play in the semi-finals of the Premiership or to win the Anglo-Welsh Cup so that I know how it feels. I know it would be amazing.”