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Rumours link Steve Diamond with Northern raid

By Paul Smith
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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Newly-appointed Worcester Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond has been linked with a raid on his former club Sale Sharks’ playing resources.

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And according to the Rugby Paper the former hooker is looking closely at his Manchester-based Premiership rivals’ South African contingent in an attempt to beef up his forward pack.

“We need to add to the pack, there isn’t enough ‘bump’ if I am honest, but everyone will be given a fair crack at the whip so we will see what we have in the next month or six weeks,” Diamond is quoted as saying.

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Wales coach Wayne Pivac & skipper Dan Biggar preview Six Nations
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Wales coach Wayne Pivac & skipper Dan Biggar preview Six Nations

The story goes on to identify a number of possible targets including Jean-Luc and Dan Du Preez. In addition, hooker Akker van der Merwe, whose Scottish international brother Duhan joined Worcester from Edinburgh after playing a prominent role in the British & Irish Lions’ summer tour to the land of his birth, is named as a possible Diamond target.

Another name mentioned was 27-year-old flanker Cameron Nield who began his career as a hooker prior to making a successful switch to the back row that has seen him make 120 appearances for the Sharks.

Diamond, who took the reins at Worcester after last week’s departure of head coach Jonathan Thomas, was in charge of his first game last weekend when the Warriors slipped to a 13-29 home defeat to Northampton Saints.

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Even though Bath have won twice in recent weeks, he absence of relegation means perennial top flight strugglers Worcester have some breathing space in which to make some changes.

However, Diamond is also mindful that recent big reductions to the salary cap mean he will have to concentrate on finding new talent in addition to signing established names from the Southern Hemisphere and rival Premiership clubs.

The veteran former hooker has previously proved his ability to operate in this manner when bringing the likes of Valery Morozov and Andrei Ostrikov to Sale.

“We have to realise that the salary cap has come down significantly and when I was recruiting three or four years ago we had a lot more money to spend and it was easier,” he said.

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“So now we have to be smart in our recruitment; find those hidden gems in the Championship or lower and even in Eastern Europe or wherever my contacts are and get them well coached.

“I know how to do that, i am confident putting together a highly competitive squad in the competition.

“We certainly have the full cap available to us and part of my role going forward will be to utilise that cap and decide what we can bring in.”

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