Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has paid tribute to Nick Johnston after it was announced the club’s performance director has left the club ‘with immediate effect’.
Johnston joined Saints in 2008 from Sale Sharks, and has played a key role in the club’s success over the past five years.
And Mallinder said: “We’re in a much stronger position than we were five years ago, and a lot of that is down to Nick.
“He has put in place procedures and practices that will stand us in good stead for the future, both with the first team and with the younger players in the Academy system.
“I’ve enjoyed working with Nick at the Saints, and on behalf of the playing department I wish him all the best for the future, and hope that he won’t be a stranger at Franklin’s Gardens.”
Chief executive Allan Robson confirmed that Johnston has left the club by mutual consent and with immediate effect, and said: “Nick has been an important person behind the scenes over the past few years and I’m sorry to see him leave us.
“He has worked extremely hard to get our performance department into a place where it is the envy of the other Aviva Premiership clubs and at the cutting edge.
“However he now has a young family and wants to take some time to enjoy being a new father.
“I’d like to thank Nick for everything that he’s done at Franklin’s Gardens and wish him all the best for the future.”
A statement from Saints added that the club ‘will make no further comment at this time’.