Buy into it: Sale Sharks’ Steve Diamond says honesty and hard work behind club’s 2014 turnaround

Sale Sharks’ director of rugby Steve Diamond insists honesty and sheer hard work was behind the club’s turnaround in fortunes this season.

Sharks looked on from the relative comfort of middle table as Worcester Warriors lost their battle against avoiding relegation from the Aviva Premiership.

The battle at the bottom is not an unfamiliar one for Diamond’s men however after they flirted with relegation the previous season before a recovery in the second half of the season pulled them up to tenth.

It was an experience the club was keen not to repeat, with a period of careful reflection last summer prompting a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, with a sixth-place finish – and qualification for European Champions Cup to boot.

Diamond’s work also saw him shortlisted for the Guinness director of rugby of the season award, and while losing out to Saracens Stuart McCall at Thursday’s awards in London, the former Sharks player was still proud of his side’s achievements.

“Every year there is a one in 12 chance you could go down. As a owner there is big pressure, as a coach there is big pressure,” said Diamond.

“Unfortunately it’s Worcester this year, it was London Welsh last year. And we skirted around that for the majority of last season.

“But it’s nearly 20 years old this competition and we’ve been in it from the start. You don’t want to drop out of it.

“What we’ve managed to do in the summer was have an honest review of how we got ourselves in the mire and dig ourselves out of it and keep the same momentum.

“And that was through being honest, having top class players who perform on a regular basis, having coaches who are diligent and understand the game and everybody sticking to the pump and working together.

“No secret, just hard work and everyone buying into it.”

Sharks performances did not go unnoticed by the England selectors either with the quartet of Danny Cipriani, Tommy Taylor, Henry Thomas and Michael Paterson all named in 20-man England Training Squad last Thursday.

Cipriani’s involvement is his first in six years and comes after a season in which he went some way to repairing his reputation with some strong performances on the pitch as well as a growing maturity off it, with Diamond quick to praise his efforts.

“It’s an important moment for Danny, an important moment for his career,” he added.

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes by Danny. A lot of talk has been how people deal with him and how they manage him but 95% of it is down to Danny.

“He can see gaps, he can see space, he can see numbers mathematically in his brain and he can put people away.

“Credit to the lad, he has pulled his socks up monumentally and fully deserves to be in with a shout.”

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Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.

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