Steve Diamond addresses surprise Stuart Hogg rumours as Newcastle seek to improve ‘bad recruitment’

Colin Newboult
Former Scotland back Stuart Hogg and Newcastle Falcons boss Steve Diamond.

Former Scotland back Stuart Hogg and Newcastle Falcons boss Steve Diamond.

Newcastle Falcons consultant director of rugby Steve Diamond has responded to reports that Stuart Hogg has been in talks over a potential return to rugby.

The Scotland great retired from the sport ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after stating that he was “knackered, physically and emotionally.”

However, it was reported on Friday that Hogg had held discussions with a struggling Newcastle team, who finished bottom of the Premiership after losing all 18 matches.

Controversy

It would be a surprise move, and a controversial one, too, given Hogg’s current court case for domestic abuse and stalking allegations, but Diamond insisted that there was “no truth whatsoever” in the rumours.

That seemed to put the story to bed, although it must be said that the 55-year-old has categorically denied transfers were happening in the past only for them to be officially announced soon after.

The former hooker certainly knows that the Falcons need reinforcements after a dreadful season concluded with another hammering, this time at ninth-place Gloucester.

Newcastle were thrashed 54-14 by the Cherry and Whites on Saturday as they ended their campaign with just five bonus-points garnered from zero wins and 18 losses.

“We looked like rabbits in the headlights again,” Diamond said. “Gloucester turned up on form. They took a bit of grief last week for the team they put out and were warming up for their big European final.

“The lads will have a few weeks off but the hard work starts for me right now. The recruitment here has not been good for various reasons.

“You can bring one or two from the Championship to the Premiership and survive with them. But if you bring them en masse you can’t You become a Championship team. And the results we have had we’ve become exactly that.

”You can’t take a team as demoralised as this and make it a top-four team immediately. But what we can do is get off the bottom of the league next time.”

Stuart Hogg linked with shock return to the Premiership in retirement U-turn

Gulf in class

Only one place may separate Newcastle and Gloucester at the end of the season, but in reality, that proved to be a huge chasm.

The Cherry and Whites finished their domestic campaign on a high – a week after a 90-0 humbling at Northampton Saints – and will look to take that momentum into the Challenge Cup final with the Sharks.

“Sharks will be a strong team, This is a proper team we will be playing at a proper final and they will be hard to beat,” Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington said.

“It’s going to be a big occasion for all the guys and once I find out how all the players are I will need to sit down and decide on the team for it.

“This was out last game of the season so it was important to leave on a high. We haven’t delivered the league campaign we wanted but we wanted to go out by playing some good rugby and scoring a few tries.

“Last week wasn’t acceptable but the guys had the benefit of having a week off and they took it all on board and executed it very well today.”

READ MORE: Winless season confirmed for Newcastle who fall short to Gloucester in final round