FORMER Sale Sharks and England Saxons boss Steve Diamond has lauded Warriors back line as he prepares to end his near year-long exile from top-flight rugby.
Diamond will start work as the club’s lead rugby consultant on Monday (November 29) as Warriors chiefs look to tap into his considerable experience and expertise.
The 53-year-old left Sale Sharks last December following the passing of his mother and for several other family reasons but is relishing the chance to return to the game.
“I met with Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham and they impressed me as two very enthusiastic owners who want to build on the legacy left by Cecil Duckworth, who was someone I knew reasonably well,” Diamond said.
“The first couple of weeks, after I start a week on Monday, will be about assessing where we are and where we need to tighten things up.
“The first objective will be to ensure that we become a difficult team to beat but we have an exciting back line that, when all are fit, can challenge any in the Premiership.”
Diamond will report to current Sixways director of rugby Alan Solomons and the board of directors will review all aspects of the rugby programme, advise on changes where needed and also help with player recruitment for next season.
Co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham added Diamond would also be working with head coach Jonathan Thomas.
“The Premiership is the toughest rugby competition in the world and small margins can make a big difference in the heat of a game,” they said.
“The club has the benefit of an excellent group of players, coaches and backroom staff who are all aligned in their vision and ambition.
“We believe adding someone with Steve’s experience will enable us identify the missing ingredients needed to realise the true potential of this team.”
Diamond made more than 350 appearances for Sale as a hooker in a career which spanned the amateur and professional eras and toured Argentina and Australia with England in 1997.
He made a smooth transition to coaching, forming a coaching team at Sale with his former team-mate Jim Mallinder in 2001.
Diamond and Mallinder then took charge of England Saxons for the 2002 and 2003 Churchill Cups before Diamond took charge of Saracens for two seasons from 2004 and 2006.
He coached the Russian national side between 2010 and 2011 where he worked with Solomons who was then high performance consultant for the International Rugby Board.
Having helped Russia to qualify for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Diamond returned to Sale in 2011, initially as director of sport before being appointed director of rugby the following year.
Sale won the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2019/20, Diamond’s last full season in charge at the AJ Bell Stadium, and also qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup five times
Diamond’s appointment has been welcomed by Thomas who revealed the pair had held some ‘great meetings and conversations’ in recent weeks.
“He is vastly experienced in a wide range of aspects of the game and I believe his experience and skill set will add to and complement the foundations we have already put in place,” Thomas said.
Warriors are in action on Friday when they head to Newcastle Falcons.