ALAN GAFFNEY ANNOUNCED AS SAINTS’ TECHNICAL COACHING CONSULTANT

Northampton Saints today confirm Alan Gaffney as the Club’s technical coaching consultant until the end of the 2017/18 season. Gaffney will begin working at Franklin’s Gardens on New Year’s Day ahead of the Club’s Aviva Premiership match against Gloucester on Saturday 6 January 2018.

The 70-year-old is one of Australia’s most experienced coaches who will bring over two decades of professional coaching experience to Franklin’s Gardens. Gaffney will already be a household name to supporters of Irish rugby after spells with the Munster, Leinster, and Ireland squads between 2000 and 2011.

As backs coach of the Ireland national team and Leinster in 2009, Gaffney helped to mastermind both a Six Nations Grand Slam triumph and a Heineken Cup victory in the same year. Since then the Australian served as senior assistant coach at the New South Wales Waratahs from 2011 to 2013, and has been Rugby Australia’s national elite programmes coach from 2013 to present.

At Saints, Gaffney will oversee the existing coaching team, comprising acting head coach Alan Dickens, forwards coach Dorian West, Phil Dowson who will now oversee defence, and assistant coach Mark Hopley.

“We are delighted to have recruited Alan as our technical coaching consultant until the end of the season,” said Northampton Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“Alan is hugely experienced and admired throughout the game for being a forward thinking, innovative rugby coach. His CV speaks for itself; he has been successful with some of the best teams in the world – including winning a Six Nations Grand Slam and Heineken Cup – and has a clear understanding of how to set-up an effective all-around rugby team. He also has a proven track record of developing some of the world’s best coaches and players.

“Alan will take on responsibility for the rugby department and will lead the existing coaching group made up of Alan Dickens, Dorian West, Mark Hopley and Phil Dowson.

“In parallel, the Board will continue to focus on the recruitment of a permanent Director of Rugby to be in place for the start of the 2018/19 season. As I have said previously, there has been a great deal of interest in this vacancy and we hope to be able to announce this appointment in the coming months.”

After making over 200 appearances for Sydney outfit Randwick as a player, Gaffney began his coaching career at his home club before getting his break as assistant coach at the NSW Waratahs in 1997.

During his time at Randwick, Gaffney coached current Australia boss Michael Cheika and England’s Eddie Jones – forging a relationship that saw him work as Jones’ assistant coach with the Australian national team. From there, Gaffney moved to Saracens where he was director of rugby from 2006 to 2008, guiding the north Londoners to the Aviva Premiership play-offs for the first time ever in 2007 and their first Heineken Cup semi-final in 2008. That appointment followed initial spells with Leinster as backs coach and then Munster as head coach from 2000 to 2005, where he won back-to-back Celtic League titles.

“I am really excited about the challenge ahead,” said Gaffney.

“Any coach would jump at the chance to work with the calibre of players Saints have. The squad have shown what they’re capable of earlier in the season but, for whatever reason, they have not been able to perform at that level consistently.

“I’m looking forward to working with Alan Dickens, Dorian West, Mark Hopley, Phil Dowson and the rest of the back-room staff from the start of the new year.”

 

Dylan Signs new contract and resumes captaincy

Courtesy Northampton Saints

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – APRIL 16: Dylan Hartley of Northampton issues instructions during the Aviva Premiership match between Northampton Saints and Saracens at Stadium mk on April 16, 2017 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

WEDNESDAY, JULY 19, 2017

Northampton Saints has today announced that Dylan Hartley has both signed a new contract and been appointed as the club’s captain for the second time.

The 31-year-old, who has made 229 appearances in his 12 years at Franklin’s Gardens, had the armband during the club’s most successful ever extended period between 2009 and 2015. These six years saw the Aviva Premiership, European Rugby Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup trophies all be lifted, several other cup finals be reached – including the 2011 European Rugby Champions Cup final – and the team finish top of the Aviva Premiership table for the first time in its history.

He is not the first captain to be re-appointed for a second time; some of the biggest names in Saints’ history have also led the team in multiple stretches, including Hall of Famers Billy Weston, Ron Jacobs, Ray Longland and Don White.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the hooker – who has also led England to successive Six Nations titles for the first time since the turn of the millennium – has the confidence of coaches and players alike.

“Dylan has rightly received recognition as a superb captain for club and country,” he says. “He led the team during a very successful period for us, has the respect of the rest of the squad and coaches alike, and knows what it takes to win silverware.

“The decision to offer Dylan the captaincy is no reflection on how Tom Wood led the team last season. Tom is an outstanding leader himself who is fully committed in training and in games each and every week, and he will remain an important part of the leadership group. But we felt that Dylan is in the right place both personally and professionally to be our captain once again.

“We’re also delighted that he has signed a new contract to stay at Franklin’s Gardens. Dylan has been one of the best hookers in Europe for several years and is hugely committed to the Saints.”

Hartley says that he had no hesitations in putting pen to paper, and admitted his surprise at being offered the captaincy.

“It was an easy decision to commit my long-term playing future to Northampton Saints,” he says. “After completing my 11th year at Franklin’s Gardens last season I was delighted when the club suggested extending my time here. I’m very proud to be offered an opportunity to continue playing and being part of such a great club.

“When Jim approached me about taking on the captaincy I was surprised. For me the timing is right and it is certainly a challenge I want to take on. I’m very passionate about the Saints and would love to see us competing for trophies. We have some valuable experience within the squad that will be driving the team forward this year.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Woody [Tom Wood] for the way he led the team last season. He plays with his heart on his sleeve and body on the line and he did a fine job in what was a frustrating season for us. His support to me will be invaluable, as will his presence on the field.

“I’d also like to thank the Saints supporters for the way that they have been behind both me personally and the team as a whole throughout my time here. We all appreciate the time and effort they put in to following us home and away, and hopefully we will all enjoy success together this season.”

A LEAGUE NEW STRUCTURE AND FIXTURES ANNOUNCED

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PREMIERSHIP RUGBY

FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

Today Premiership Rugby has announced a new framework for the Premiership Rugby A League competition, also setting out the fixtures for the upcoming season.

Now facing each side home and away, the Wanderers, who lifted the trophy in last year’s campaign, will start their title defence with a trip to Sale Jets in the North Pool, as the countdown to the new season gathers pace.

The opening round of the season comes just days after the Premiership Rugby season kicks off, providing a perfect opportunity for the next generation to showcase their skills.

Following that, the Wanderers return to the Gardens to host local rivals Leicester Tigers A just two days after the same fixture plays out with the first team in a double derby day weekend.

The Wanderers, looking to repeat their success this season, will face more major challenges with Worcester Cavaliers hot on the heels of derby day.

The structure of the Premiership Rugby A League has changed significantly this season, with 13 teams set to compete before the semi-finals and finals in April.

The six-team North Pool will play each other home and away, with the top two progressing to the semi-finals.

Whereas in the South Pool, the sides will play each other once. The top five after six matches then meet again, play an additional four games in a second phase mini-league with the top reaching the semi-finals.

The semi-finals are set to take place on the week commencing 22 April, with the final on Monday 30 April.

For a full list of Premiership Rugby A League fixtures CLICK HERE.

Tom Collins and Tom Stephenson off to The Southern Hemisphere

  Tom Collins and Tom Stephenson will be spending their off-season building up their rugby experience at one of Australia’s most famous clubs.
The two backs are on their way to Randwick to play in the Sydney club competition until late July. This arrangement has been reached thanks to Saints attack coach Alan Dickens’ former coach at Saracens, Alan Gaffney, who has strong links with Randwick.

The Coogee-based outfit has been home to some of Australia’s greatest ever internationals, including the Ella brothers, David Campese, Chris Latham, Phil Kearns and George Gregan.

Stephenson is looking forward to pulling on the famous green shirt.

“I’m excited about heading to Sydney for the next few weeks,” he said. “Randwick is a great club, and it will good to get some rugby under my belt after what has been a frustrating season for me.

“It will be good to have Tom Collins there with me. We’re good friends and I know he’s looking forward to the experience as much as I am and playing rugby in a different environment.”

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Stephenson and Collins will benefit from playing rugby in Sydney.

“The Sydney competition is strong and competitive, and both Toms will be able to develop their games over the next few weeks,” he said. “It will be a good experience for them, and I’m sure that they will learn a lot and come back as better rugby players.”

Tony Hewitt steps aside

TONY HEWITT TO STEP DOWN AS NORTHAMPTON SAINTS NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2017
Northampton Saints has today announced that Tony Hewitt will be stepping down as the Club’s non-executive chairman at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Hewitt has been a part of the management of the Saints for nearly 30 years, having first become involved in 1988. He joined the board of directors in 1995 when the game went professional, stepping up to be deputy chairman in 2011 and then to be chairman in June 2013 following Leon Barwell’s untimely passing. He is the longest serving director with Keith Barwell.

Hewitt has played a major role with Keith Barwell in the transformation of the club from the amateur era to the successful Aviva Premiership organisation it is today. He played a leading role in the initial share offer for Northampton Saints plc in 2000 and spearheaded the development of Franklin’s Gardens from a collection of wooden and temporary stands into the state-of-the-art arena that it is today.

Under Hewitt’s chairmanship the Saints won the Aviva Premiership and European Rugby Challenge Cup titles in 2014 and finished top of the Aviva Premiership table for the first time in 2015. Furthermore with the completion of the Barwell Stand in 2016 Franklin’s Gardens became a completed stadium bowl accommodating more supporters week in, week out, than at any time in the club’s history. He says that it has been an eventful and enjoyable journey to have been a part of.

“The Saints has been a massive part of my life for the best part of 30 years,” he said. “We’ve had some brilliant times and experienced emotions at both ends of the spectrum!

“From the playing perspective it was tremendous to be a part of the club when we won the Heineken Cup in 2000, and then to have the unprecedented run of cup finals and trophies between 2008 and 2014 after having also experienced the lows of relegation in 2007 in between. And I’m proud to have been involved with the club while we have turned Franklin’s Gardens into a stadium that is the envy of other clubs in the Aviva Premiership and in Europe.”

“At 68 years old, with the recent board appointments, new £1 million investment, and with a new CEO joining the club, I feel the time will be right for me to hand over the chairmanship at the end of the season as we enter another new exciting and challenging era for Northampton Saints.”

The new chairman will be John White, who has been Hewitt’s deputy since 2013. A former Saints player himself, White was appointed to the club’s board of directors in November 2012. He has spent all his working life in the house building industry, notably at Persimmon plc, where he was group chief executive and then group chairman until April 2011. He is currently group chairman of McCarthy and Stone plc, the UK retirement home specialist.

Colin Povey will become deputy chairman. A board member at Franklin’s Gardens for 16 years, he has significant experience leading high profile companies, notably Carlsberg UK and, until recently, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, where he oversaw the redevelopment of Edgbaston into one of the country’s leading cricket stadiums. He is currently non-executive chairman of England Netball and played water polo for Great Britain.

Hewitt will continue on the board of directors in a non-executive capacity.

Northampton Saints Article