Steve Diamond has launched a vehement defence of his managerial style at Sale as he pointed to a number of high-profile players to commit themselves to a club he claims has the “lowest injury count in the Premiership”.
Sale’s uncompromising director of rugby has come under scrutiny after he confronted a journalist following Saturday’s victory at Gloucester and invited him to “go outside” after taking issue over an article written three months before in which the reporter, Sam Peters, had been critical of him. Peters, who was reporting on Saturday’s match for the Sunday Times, has said he will not take the matter further and, with the Rugby Football Union insistent they can act only on a direct complaint, Diamond declared the matter now closed, adding: “We move on.”
When asked about a second article by Peters published in the Independent after Saturday’s post-match spat in which he branded Diamond “a bully”, Sale’s director of rugby said: “We’re not here to discuss that, but I’m a massive believer in looking after our players. When Danny Cipriani was here, I looked after him and got him through the problems that he had before. There were one or two players who had been in here before and one or two players who are still here who we have looked after.
“We have got young lads who sometimes get into trouble and make mistakes.
“My job is to look after them and put them back on the straight and narrow.
“There will always be one or two people who say this happened to them or that happened to them but there’s no evidence to suggest that.”
Sale’s annual self-insurance premium for players is around the £85,000 mark, believed to be the lowest in the Premiership, in accordance with their injury track record. Diamond added: “Player welfare is our highest priority and all of our medical protocols are exemplary. We have the lowest injury rate in the competition for the seventh year, at the halfway stage – I think we’re 35% behind everybody else.
“So any medical issues, our medical staff deal with them appropriately and always have done.”
Diamond fielded questions from reporters at Sale’s Carrington training ground at lunchtime alongside his players Chris Ashton, Faf de Klerk and Josh Beaumont. The South Africa scrum-half De Klerk and England forward Beaumont have signed contract extensions and Diamond said a handful of high-profile recruits had also been lined up.
Highly-regarded flanker Tom Curry is expected to join twin brother Ben in signing a new long-term deal.
“If I wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t re-sign and nor would the other guys who are staying,” said De Klerk.
Diamond said: “You don’t choose to stay as Faf said if you don’t enjoy it and you are bullied. That’s it. Am I misunderstood? No, I don’t think so. Forthright and old school? To me, that means wearing the right kit, understanding what we’re trying to do and buying into it.
“The players drive the mentality in the building and I am a facilitator, I don’t do much coaching.”
Diamond claimed Sale are currently the lowest spenders in the Premiership but said they would be utilising the full salary cap next season.
The Sharks won the Premiership in 2006 but have since failed to even reach the play-offs, yet Diamond said there was a desire from owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason to return the club to the top.
South African brothers Rob and Jean-Luc de Preez are due to leave the club when their short-term deals expire.
Yet Diamond, whose side host champions Saracens on Friday, said: “We have set a vision with the owners of where we want to go with the business and we’ve got total buy-in.
“I want to put together a backline and hopefully a forward pack that can challenge for European honours and Premiership honours in the next two or three years.”
Source link : https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/01/sale-sharks-steve-diamond-saracens-rugby-union
Publish date : 2019-01-01 17:02:00