Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has spoken out about accusations he is a ‘bully’, pointing to the slew of new deals that the players are signing to stay on with the club.
“I don’t think I am misunderstood. I think it’s a case of a couple of people forming their opinion,” said Diamond at Sale’s training facilities flanked by starsChris Ashton, Faf De Klerk and Josh Beaumont.
“Forget Faf, who has been here 18 months, or ‘Ashy’, who has been here six months,” Diamond said.
“‘Beau’ has been here as man and boy. He could have gone to any club. He chose to stay. You don’t choose to stay if you don’t enjoy it and you are bullied. That’s it.”
Diamond became embroiled in a heated confrontation with journalist Sam Peters following the Sharks’ impressive win at Gloucester on Saturday, in response to a critical article written earlier in the season that questioned Diamond’s approach to player welfare and suggested his demeanour created an atmosphere of ‘intimidation’.
“I am a massive believer in looking after our assets and our players,” said Diamond, who added he worked closely with the Rugby Players’ Association to prioritise player welfare.
“All of our medical protocols are exemplary. We have the lowest injury rate in the competition for the seventh year, at the halfway stage. So any medical issues, our medical staff deal with them appropriately and always have done.”
South Africa international Faf De Klerk, whose new deal expires in 2023, said he wouldn’t sign on if he wasn’t happy.
“If I wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t re-sign. And the guys who are staying – you can read into that.
“Guys wouldn’t sign if they weren’t happy.”
“I am enjoying it here, I am enjoying my time here, the guys are committing to the club and what we want to do, so I am very positive for the future.”
The incident on Saturday with Peters will not be investigated by the Rugby Football Union as Peters said he would not “pursue this matter further”.
Rugby World Cup City Guide – Oita Preview:
Watch the Heineken Champions Cup Final live on RugbyPass throughout Asia and Australia.