Sale have announced that Steve Diamond has stepped down from his position as the Sale Sharks director of rugby due to personal reasons.

Steve Diamond immediate departure was confirmed via a statement on the club’s website on Tuesday.

Diamond’s shock departure comes just three games into the new Premiership season, and only four days before Sale’s Heineken Champions Cup opener against Toulon.

Paul Deacon is to take charge of first team until further notice.

Commenting on his shock exit, Diamond said: “After 10 proud years with Sale Sharks, I have taken the decision to step away from the business.”

“I feel that this is the perfect moment to hand over to someone else, given the club is now stable and in a great position to compete at the highest level.

“We have acquired a world-class training facility, built an academy that is the envy of many Premiership clubs, and constructed a squad that can win tournaments and trophies at domestic and European level.

“I know Simon and Ged (Sale owners Simon Orange and Ged Mason) will continue with the progress we have made together, and I now look forward to taking some time out and planning my next challenge.”

The Sharks added: “The club would like to thank Steve for his loyal service and commitment over the years.

“He leaves Sale Sharks in a strong position, having improved the club in many ways, and we wish him every success for the future.

“Paul Deacon will assume responsibility of the first team as head coach while we take stock and plan for the future.”

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