Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond has defended his methods – and says a string of players signing new deals shows they enjoy working for him.
Journalist Sam Peters called Diamond “a bully” during a confrontation after the Sharks’ win at Gloucester on Saturday.
Diamond will not be investigated by the Rugby Football Union as Peters said he would not “pursue this matter further”.
“I don’t think I am misunderstood. I think it’s a case of a couple of people forming their opinion,” said Diamond.
The 50-year-old initially spoke to Peters in the press room at Kingsholm, apparently as the result of a critical article the journalist had written earlier in the season.
It was said Diamond created an intimidating atmosphere, and ignored medical advice when it came to dealing with injuries.
“I am a massive believer in looking after our assets and our players,” said Diamond, who added he worked closely with the Rugby Players’ Association to prioritise player welfare.
“All of our medical protocols are exemplary. We have the lowest injury rate in the competition for the seventh year, at the halfway stage. So any medical issues, our medical staff deal with them appropriately and always have done.”
Four of the Sharks’ key players – captain Jono Ross, scrum-half Faf de Klerk, and forwards Josh Beaumont and Ben Curry – have signed new deals in the past 10 days.
Diamond said Beaumont – a product of the Sharks’ academy – “could have gone to any club”.
He added: “He chose to stay. You don’t choose to stay if you don’t enjoy it and you are bullied. That’s it.”
South Africa international De Klerk, whose new deal expires in 2023, said: “If I wasn’t happy, I wouldn’t re-sign. Guys wouldn’t sign if they weren’t happy.”