Sale eye world class quartet

Date published: October 5 2016

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has revealed the club is looking at bringing in three or four world class players in the near future.

On the back of coaches Paul Deacon and Mike Forshaw extending their deals at the club, Diamond also confirmed that centre Sam James and full-back Mike Haley are available for selection ahead of Friday’s Premiership clash with Bath at the Recreation Ground in a major boost.

Haley has been out with a shoulder injury he picked up on tour with the Saxons. James meanwhile suffered a hamstring injury in September.

“It was really important,” said Diamond about Deacon and Forshaw’s deals. “Under the new ownership with me guiding the ship, we didn’t want to rush out and buy top quality players. We want to get all of the current lads tied up on long-term deals – the next step was the coaching staff.

“They do a brilliant job on the resource that we use – the next step is for me is so sit down with the analysis people and find three or four world class players.

“We also need to be looking at every single one of the academies as no other club will puts young players in the first team apart from us and Worcester. For example, look at Paolo (Odogwu).”

“If we’re honest, we need four world class players bringing in to challenge for the top four.”

Speaking about their upcoming game against at the Rec, Diamond said: “Bath are a different outfit this year, we need to go down there and try and assert some control up front and if we can do that, then we stand a chance. It’s a difficult place to win. Todd (Blackadder) is finding his feet in the Premiership; he’s a very experienced bloke.

“They are performing better than last season, as they’re well coached and better managed. We’re still in the position ourselves in that we look at what we are doing, and we pride ourselves on what we’re doing well, we just need some consistency.”

Sale currently sit fifth in the Premiership standings after two wins, a draw and two defeats, with Diamond assessing their season to date.

“I think it’s proven again how difficult the competition is this year, we played against Gloucester with no fly-half through injury which resulted in the loss, and we missed a kick to win the game at Newcastle so we’re sat on 13 points – it looks like three wins plus in points value, so you’ve got to be happy with that,” he said.