Press Notes – Steve Diamond

On having Newcastle back in the league:

“It’s really good to have Newcastle back, to have two flag bearers in the north is always a good thing. I wasn’t surprised by Newcastle’s result at Bath if I’m honest, I think dean said regarding their loss to Ealing that pre-season results don’t matter, and he well and truly proved that on Saturday. I think generally, the side that comes up has a good start and then find their level after a few rounds, but Newcastle certainly aren’t one of those teams. They finished fourth the year before last, they have a good squad and are very well coached by Dean & Co. You normally need your hot water bottle with you when you play up at Kingston Park so we’re expecting a tough evening.”

Work on’s from the Northampton match:

“We were pleased with the way we started but we had a bit of a bad patch in the middle of the game. Northampton are a good side, they were missing a couple of players but they came up to us with a good squad. Our discipline let us down but I’m putting that down to a bit of frustration and being a sightly ring rusty. Defensively we were very good, our set piece went well, and in attack we had an 80% conversion inside the 22 which is good. Conversion rate in attack has been a big work on for us in the off season, as last year our success rate inside the opponents 22 was around 30%. We’re trying to build off our defence which has been up there for the last two years, it’s great to have everyone buying into it and hopefully we will reap the rewards in the latter stages of the season.”

On kicking on from last season’s disappointments:

“As I said last week, we haven’t really elaborated on what happened at the end of last season, we just put it down to bad luck. We haven’t used it as a focus tool just yet, we just think we need to move on but it may be a button we press later in the season as we look to build motivation, bringing back a bad memory isn’t always a bad thing in that regard.”

“We know what we are capable of, in the two weeks training pre-season and in the run up to the game at the weekend there was a lot of frustration on show. No one will be able to work out what caused the outbreak here which is unfortunate, but we just have to take the learnings from the report issued by the RFU. We have had five deaths in families associated to the club over the past few weeks, thankfully not due to COVID but that just puts things into perspective a bit, at the end of the day we are just chucking a ball about.”

On expectations of Sale Sharks this season:

“I think there are expectations within the squad as well as from outside influences. People are always talking about the players we have and so on, and to be fair I agree. There is expectation on us now, with the investment our owners have put in, the high-quality squad we have assembled and developed. There are no excuses, we have got to be in the top four for my liking.”

Update on New Signings at the club:

“There is a lot happening on that front, but we don’t have visas for anyone at the moment. We are hopeful that one of our signings will be in the country this Friday and we a will hopefully have a decision from another player on Friday too. We are currently fine tuning our recruitment process to make sure the International back rower I mentioned last week is the right man for the job, but I think we are pretty set for the season ahead with the few additions we have made.”

On supporters potentially being allowed back into stadiums:

“I think its brilliant, I’m not too bothered if we don’t fit into a tier that allows it just yet, that time will come. As long as rugby can move forward, if any club can get 4000 supporters into a match, I would be delighted to be involved in that.”

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