Steve Diamond, the Director of Rugby of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club the Sale Sharks is not getting carried away with the fine form of his team and is keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite the club continuing to surge up the table in the Premiership.
The Sharks continued to force their way through to the top half of the table with the demolition of the Northampton Saints which had been boosted by the return of several key international players last weekend.
That stunning 19-6 win against the table toppers at that time took the Sharks to the top five, leapfrogging Harlequins FC and they are currently just seven points off fourth place and a spot in the Aviva Premiership playoffs. With five rounds of the regular season of the Aviva Premiership left to go, the Sale Sharks are being seen as favorites to make it to the playoff round for the first time in years.
However, Diamond is still not getting carried away and although he believes the win against the star studded Northampton Saints was a sign of things to come, he believes there is still a lot of work to be done.
He stated that it was definitely the biggest win of the season adding that he had seen this kind of victory coming for a long time as the team was playing well against the big teams without managing a win.
Diamond stated that the Sale Sharks are in a position to challenge for the playoff positions and their next match against Bath Rugby will show how ready they are to make the playoffs this season. And if the team does manage the playoffs, it will be an immense turnaround for a side that barely managed to stave off relegation last season.
Sale Sharks’ executive director of sport is to be charged with two counts of verbally abusing match officials following their defeat at London Irish. If, as expected he is found guilty he is set to face a long touchline ban, which will no doubt have a significant impact on the Sharks fortunes over the next few weeks or months.
Diamond appears before the panel on Tuesday and he will have to answer to the charges relating to the comments he made regarding Wayne Barnes and his two assistants Rhys Davies and Gareth Copsey in his post match outburst.
Diamond was last October charged and received a 12 week suspended touchline ban as well as a hefty fine. If found guilty this week Diamond will have this suspended ban activated and any further sanction on top of this.
At the hearing for the offence, pushing Northampton’s head of fitness, Diamond was warned about the consequences he would face if found guilty of a similar offence and was also ordered to take a course in media training before the end of this season.
Since Diamond’s appointment in the latter parts of last season the Sharks have drastically improved. Having been dangerously close to relegation in the last few campaigns they now sit nicely at the business end of the table and look set to be in the mix for a play-off place at the end of the year.
The Sharks lost the game to which the charge relates 21-19 with Irish being awarded a late penalty for a scrum infringement, which they successfully scored much to Diamond’s anger. “I’m not whingeing, but if the referee is going to make his interpretations let it be consistent. That is what we are after. It is hard to take when such a crucial decision is made like that. He [Barnes] has to be 100% right that we wheeled the scrum. He ought to come to a coaching session and see that the wheel went out of the game 10 years ago.”
The panel are likely to conclude that Diamond has breached their guidelines and he could well be set for a lengthy spell away from the touchline.
Steve Diamond, the Executive Director for Sports at Sale Sharks, is facing a ban for a long time after being charged with verbal abuse on two counts. Diamond faces the ban for verbally abusing officials on the pitch after the team’s defeat last Sunday at the hands of London Irish.
Diamond will be appearing before a three man panel for discipline on Tuesday in Stafford, accused of abusing the match referees for that day – Wayne Barnes, and his assistant referees namely Rhys Davies and Gareth Copsey.
Steve Diamond has a history of disciplinary charges. It was only last October when Steve Diamond received a twelve week touchline ban for pushing the Fitness Coach of the Northampton team, Nick Johnston, on the sidelines. That time the match was won by the Sharks over the Saints at the Edgeley Park, which would have at least helped sweeten Diamond’s five thousand pound fine.