Bath consider adding Steve Diamond to coaching team after miserable start to campaign

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Sale Sharks Director of rugby Steve Diamond during the Gallagher Premiership match at Sandy Park, Exeter. - PA
Sale Sharks Director of rugby Steve Diamond during the Gallagher Premiership match at Sandy Park, Exeter. - PA

Bath are considering adding Steve Diamond, the former Sale Sharks director of rugby, to their coaching staff following a miserable start to the season, Telegraph Sport understands.

Diamond left Sale at the start of last season for family reasons but is now open to a return to coaching, having previously spent eight years in charge of Sale with the club finishing narrowly outside the Gallagher Premiership play-offs in his final season.

Known for building physically dominant forward packs, Diamond helped to rejuvenate the career of South Africa scrum-half Faf de Klerk during his time at Sale and recruited Manu Tuilagi to the club last year before his departure. Sale also won the Premiership Rugby Cup in his final season, with the club appearing to be on an upward trajectory until his shock departure.

Bath fly-half Danny Cipriani has a previous connection with Diamond from their days together at Sale, and it is understood that he is a strong advocate of his former boss.

Diamond has also previously coached England Saxons, Saracens and Russia, helping the latter to qualify for the 2011 Rugby World Cup before returning to Sale.

Bath are currently bottom of the Gallagher Premiership and reeling from Sunday's 17-71 defeat to Saracens, their opponents' biggest-ever away win in the league. "As bad as it gets", was the verdict of Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper when fronting up to the media after his side's fourth, and worst, defeat of the young season.

"There will be questions about me, my players and my staff, but the important thing is we keep looking each other in the eye and feel this pain together and move on," Hooper explained.

"It's a tough situation and it hurts, but when you're in that situation you need to step up, stand up and be counted. That's me, the rest of the staff and the players.

"It's as bad as it gets, these moments, but our responsibility is to stand up and be counted. We've got a group of young men who are desperate to do well and now we need to step up because it's too easy to turn your back."

Bath had previously emerged with some credit from narrow defeats away to Sale and Bristol, while their previous fixture at home against Newcastle Falcons saw Bath trail 20-3 at half-time before battling back to earn a losing bonus-point.

The nature of Sunday's defeat to Saracens however will be cause for concern. Bath trailed 45-0 by half-time and conceded 10 tries in total. Cipriani's return from injury for his home debut for Bath did not go to plan, with the fly-half departing after 50 minutes.

Danny Cipriani (C) of Bath looks dejected during their defeat in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at The Recreation Ground on October 17, 2021 in Bath, England. - GETTY IMAGES
Danny Cipriani (C) of Bath looks dejected during their defeat in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at The Recreation Ground on October 17, 2021 in Bath, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Hooper took over from Todd Blackadder ahead of the 2019-20 season, with Bath qualifying for the Premiership play-offs after an impressive run of form towards the end of that campaign before losing in the semi-finals to Exeter Chiefs.

Last season saw the club slip back into seventh place and also miss out on a place in the Challenge Cup final after losing the semi-final to Montpellier.

Cipriani's arrival led to increased optimism over the summer, with Bath planning to open up their attack having been over-reliant on their pack last season. But through four matches Bath are one of only two clubs to have not reached double figures for tries scored this season, along with close neighbours Bristol.

Considering Bath's starting XV on Sunday was close to their strongest, aside from the injured Taulupe Faletau and Ben Spencer, the manner of their defeat came as a surprise.

They are also in the midst of a difficult run of fixtures, facing defending champions Harlequins away from home this weekend before games against Wasps, Leicester Tigers, Exeter and Northampton.

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