Veteran SA rugby coach set to retire

Alan Solomons (Getty Images)

Veteran South African coach Alan Solomons is set to retire after a distinguished coaching career in rugby.

Solomons, 71, has been Director of Rugby at Worcester Warriors since 2017 but the English club announced on Tuesday that he’ll retire at the end of June.

Steve Diamond, who was appointed Lead Rugby Consultant in November, will take over as Director of Rugby from Solomons on a two-year deal.

The Warriors announced in a statement on their website that Diamond “will take charge of the rugby program immediately with Solomons providing support as needed”.

Solomons had a stellar coaching career – locally he coached Western Province and the Stormers, the Southern Kings and was also a Springbok assistant coach.

Abroad he coached Ulster in Ireland, the Barbarians, Northampton Saints in England and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Warriors co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham said replacing Solomons with Diamond made sense.

“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.

“We have invested a great deal into ensuring we have all the right ingredients for the club to reach its full potential.

“We have unwavering confidence in the strength of the players and the ability of the club to achieve that goal. We will continue to do everything we can to achieve it.

“Alan has built an excellent platform for Steve to take things to the next level and achieve the full potential this club has to offer.

“Alan arrived in a consultancy role four years ago and his recruitment philosophy to develop and invest in a core of home-grown Worcester players and supplement them with x-factor talent has led to the development and retention of an exciting group of young players with more now coming through behind them in the academy.”

In addition to Diamond succeeding Solomons, the Warriors also confirmed that head coach Jonathan Thomas has departed the club with immediate effect.

“Jonathan has given his all to the club. We appreciate everything he’s done in his time at Warriors both as a player and a coach and we wish him all the very best in his future ventures,” said Goldring and Whittingham.

Diamond, who played more than 350 games for Sale in a career that spanned the amateur and professional eras, has a proven track record as a coach with Sale, Saracens and the Russia national team.

He re-joined Sale in 2011, initially as director of sport before being appointed director of rugby the following year.

Sale won the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2019/20, Diamond’s last full season in charge at the AJ Bell Stadium and they also qualified for the European Champions Cup five times.

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