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Diamond fine with Sale's plagiarism

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'We could be accused of emulating other clubs and we do pinch other people's ideas... plagiarism is part of the deal'

South African rugby can breathe easy again as Sale boss Steve Diamond has revealed his raid on the country’s rugby talent is complete after Tuesday’s latest business took the Gallagher Premiership club right up to the £7m salary cap.

Having stayed 30 per cent below that salary cap figure for this season’s campaign, Diamond has now signed brothers Robert, Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez, Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen from the Durban-based Sharks along with Springbok second row Lood de Jager. They join resident South Africans Jono Ross, Faf de Klerk and Rohan Janse van Rensburg at the club.

Besides creating two packs of Premiership class forwards based on South African muscle and a back line featuring England wings Chris Ashton and Denny Solomona, Diamond is now targeted the club’s small fan base.

Having beefed up his playing squad, he is aiming to take the average attendance from a disappointing 5,000 to 9,000 next season and quadruple the number of season ticket holders to make the club financially viable in a city dominated by two Premier League football clubs.

Diamond admits to plagiarising Saracens, the London club who used South African talent to get their title-winning run off the ground in 2011. However, he believes that with Sale being the only Premiership rugby club in the north of England, it is time to build a brand despite the domination of football in the region.

“It is now time to put the recruiting pen down,” he said. “The investors Simon Orange and Ged Mason have said that over a three-year period we would get an opportunity to spend to full salary cap and in the eight years I have been here we have never done that.

“This season we are 25-30 per cent behind the Newcastles and Worcesters, never mind the big spending clubs. It was always in the business plan to go to the salary cap next season and in doing so we looked at the quality of player we would require.

“We wanted people who were aged between 23-27, which most of them are with the exception of Coenie, and to have proven track records. They also need the character to live in Manchester and try and help make Sale a sporting force in the city.

“The new boys will come around to the way we play which is an abrasive style. The size of these players brings real ballast to the team. We could be accused of emulating other clubs and we do pinch other people’s ideas. Plagiarism is part of the deal.

“We will need to get the players integrated and deal with a difficult pre-season with the international players coming back later after the World Cup. That means it will be a freak year but by Christmas time we will hopefully have everyone settled in.

“We can never emulate the icons of football in Manchester and the local area and we need to understand where our core support is. We need to get the crowds in because that is the only way we can sustain it.

“Leeds have gone into administration while Newcastle are in the Championship, which means there is only us flying the flag for rugby union in the north of England.”

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'We could be accused of emulating other clubs and we do pinch other people's ideas... plagiarism is part of the deal'