Worcester’s incoming rugby director Steve Diamond says he is confident of fielding a “highly-competitive squad” that will be “respected” in the Gallagher Premiership.

The former Sale Sharks boss will succeed Alan Solomons, who retires from coaching in June, at the end of this season on a two-year contract.

Worcester, who also announced that head coach Jonathan Thomas has left Sixways with immediate effect, appointed Diamond in a rugby consultancy role two months ago.

And, while he will remain in that capacity for the remainder of this campaign, Diamond also immediately takes charge of Worcester’s rugby programme.

Worcester are currently 12th in the Premiership, having won just three of their league games ahead of hosting Northampton on Saturday.

“There are a lot of good people here, fantastic facilities and a lot of good players, and I think the previous management team did a pretty good job,” Diamond said.

“I bring a different edge than what they had, if I am honest, a little bit more abrasive in our approach.

“Not taking anything away from previous people who have done the job, I have a different outlook on how I think we should play, and I think we have got the resources here to do that.

“I spent two months helping, advising, watching, listening – a helicopter view, whatever you want to call it. I made some recommendations and they have been implemented.

“We have certainly got the talent, it’s just putting all the ingredients into the saucepan. The ingredients are here – they have just not been utilised as well as they could have been.”

Diamond took a year off after leaving Sale, but it was widely expected that he would return to English rugby’s top flight at some point.

Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks – Aviva Premiership – Sandy Park
Steve Diamond enjoyed consistent success while in charge at Sale (Mark Kerton/PA)

“I have really enjoyed the time off and it does give you the opportunity to rethink about what you want to do. Unfortunately for me, I can’t stay away from it,” he added.

“I will be hands-on – I have dug out my 1985 trainers and got my wet weather gear on – and I am confident of putting together a highly-competitive squad that will be respected in the competition.

“What rugby players generally like is clarity, a basic platform, then let their skills and enjoyment and enthusiasm take us to the next step. We are going to get highly-competitive and over the next year or two it will have to be a good side that beats us.

“I know the job in hand on the recruiting side. I am busy over the next week or two talking to players who are available and who will fit in, and most of them are English as well.

“You’ve got to get the right combination of people in the place and I think they are not far off that. I think it needs an addition of three or four more leaders to come in and the current group of leaders to extend their power within the group.

Worcester Warriors v Wasps – Gallagher Premiership – Sixways Stadium
Former Worcester head coach Jonathan Thomas (David Davies/PA)

“Every dog has a bite and that’s what Worcester will have over the next six months.”

Asked about Thomas’ departure, Diamond said: “I can’t really speak about that, if I am honest. It was a decision made by the board.

“All I can say is that I have been given the reins, moving forward, and hopefully I will continue the good work that he did.”

Diamond enjoyed a successful spell with Sale, gaining Heineken Champions Cup qualification on five occasions and winning the Premiership Rugby Cup.

And he has met the approval of Worcester’s co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who said: “Having taken the time to work with Steve in his role as a lead rugby consultant, it was the logical decision to offer him the role as director of rugby for the next two seasons.

“Steve is an experienced and proven director of rugby with the qualities needed to take the club to the next level and achieve our ambitions of competing at the top end of the Premiership.”