Sharks turn to Diamond
Steve Diamond is to return to Aviva Premiership club Sale Sharks as their executive director of sport.
Diamond will take up his new post on February 1 and be responsible for all rugby-related matters, including coaching and player recruitment. Sale sacked head coach Mike Brewer two days before Christmas following a troubled four-month reign, with former club captain Pete Anglesea initially put in charge for the rest of this season.
Anglesea will now remain part of the coaching team under Diamond, whose portfolio also includes a spell as Saracens director of rugby and guiding Russia to a place at the World Cup in New Zealand later this year.
Diamond made almost 300 appearances for Sale as a player, then coached them to second place in the Premiership and also their masterminded their first major trophy success for 140 years by winning the European Challenge Shield.
Sale owner Brian Kennedy said: "I am absolutely delighted to welcome Steve back to Sale Sharks - a club that I know means so much to him.
"Over the past few weeks, we have had enormous interest in the role from some world-class candidates from all over the world. However, once Steve expressed his desire to join I knew there would be only one man for the job.
"He will bring with him a knowledge and experience of the Premiership and how to succeed in what is the toughest club rugby competition in the world. His expertise in recruitment is second to none, as are his skills in implementing the right structures needed in order for success."
Diamond added: "I am thrilled to be back at Sale Sharks and cannot wait to get started. While there is a lot to do with regards to the recruitment of both players and support staff for next season, I am aware that we still have lots to play for this year.
"We have the core of a very good young squad here whose potential really does enthuse me. If we can keep them together, recruit other talent around them and establish the right culture that means they are playing to their full potential, we will be successful."
Sale currently lie 10th in the Premiership, but are 12 points above bottom club Leeds Carnegie, and they remain well placed to reach the LV= Cup quarter-finals ahead of the Anglo-Welsh competition resuming later this month.