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Diamond: Covid is Worcester's best hope of beating Sale

By Chris Jones
Steve Diamond /PA

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Steve Diamond has admitted his struggling Worcester team need a Covid outbreak at former club Sale Sharks to allow them to register a vital Premiership victory this weekend.

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Diamond was denied a top four Premiership regular season finish two years ago at Sale when a game with Worcester was called off due to Covid-19 positive tests in the Sharks squad and having taken over at Warriors, he has seen the side beaten by Northampton and Leicester.

Diamond officially becomes the club’s new director of rugby at the end of the season but is already in charge with Jonathan Thomas having left as head coach. Sale are billing his first return since ending a 10 year tenure as director of rugby in December 2020 as “ Old flame, new rivalry” and he said: “The best thing that could happen for us this weekend is that they (Sale) get Covid and I don’t think that is going to happen! The form they are in, they have a chance of getting to the top of the league.

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“We have a side at Worcester which has been comprehensively beaten in the last two weeks and going up to Manchester as an old flame is different to what I am used to. I am looking forward to it and in reality it is a bit like a divorce. In the last 30 years I was there for 26 and some divorces end nicely and some don’t. Fortunately, mine ended in an amicable way and when that happens you are invited back into the house now and then.

“They have a younger model looking after them and Worcester have picked up an old lag and we will see over the next two or three years who gets the best deal. Alex has taken the team to perhaps another level which is great credit to him. They are going places with a different driver of the bus and it looks like everyone has jumped off my bus and jumped onto his which is what you want. The transition is good for Sale. I have never been in the visitor’s dressing room but I have knocked the door down a couple of times! I will be quiet with a gag in my mouth.

“The squad at Sale and behind the scenes took a long time to build and there are a lot of people who were involved in that and then you move on to pastures new and I am excited about what we are trying to do at Worcester over the next few years.

“Both clubs have generated players through their academies and at Worcester we want the academy products to compliment the experienced gnarly people I am looking to bring in over the summer. We want to be respected in the Premiership and Europe and those footsteps are taken slowly and over the next month everyone who is not staying at Worcester will be informed and then we will start the recruitment drive.

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“I am not going to be ruthless and it will be fair as we streamline the squad a little bit. Four or five of those decision about who is leaving have been done already and they have been informed and the players have promised me they will be very diligent and work as hard as possible until the end of the season until we pass them over to their next journey in life. This can be done amicably and there as some great players at Worcester and some others who haven’t fulfilled their potential.

“I made Alex (Sanderson) captain in 2001 and he moved to Saracens with me in 2004 and I left in 2006 and he stayed on and we have always maintained a good friendship. It’s been a friendly rivalry although to be fair it’s probably 20-0 to him at Saracens! With the fantastic Sale have that will probably be the same this weekend. We went to Leicester and it took six players to pull down Jasper Wiese and Sale have got five players like him and goodness knows what will happen if we turn up with the same mindset.”

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