Northampton Saints - Boss is eyeing a huge reward

JIM MALLINDER signed on for another three years at Saints and declared: I will win something massive with this club.

Mallinder yesterday penned a deal which will see him stay at Northampton until at least 2015, and he is now setting his sights on major silverware.

The director of rugby has been a huge success since moving to Franklin’s Gardens in 2007, steering Saints to three cup wins in five seasons.

He also earned them promotion from National League One in his first season and has guided them to three successive Premiership play-off semi-finals.

But a major trophy has eluded him, with Saints falling to reach a Premiership grand final and coming unstuck in the Heineken Cup showpiece against Leinster last season.

Now Mallinder, who was strongly linked with the England head coach’s job before Stuart Lancaster took over the reins, wants to put that right after committing his future to the club.

“My desire and my love of the club is massive,” said the 46-year-old. “I’ve still got that desire for us to be successful.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made.

“I’d have loved to have won something big, but that makes me more determined to work as hard as we possibly can, with the management, with the players, with the board, so that we can bring something massive back to this club.”

Saints have just run out of gas in the final flings of recent seasons, with tiredness, injuries and suspensions taking their toll on the squad.

But Mallinder, who is now the Premiership’s longest-serving director of rugby, has learnt plenty of lessons from recent campaigns and he now feels he knows what it will take for Northampton to take ‘that next step’.

He said: “We talked last year about peaking towards the end of the season and not at the beginning.

“I think that’s what we need to do and unfortunately we haven’t done that for a number of different reasons.

“We have tried to rotate a little bit throughout the season, which has helped, but with some injuries and disciplinary issues we couldn’t field our strongest team in those final, big games and that’s what I think we need to take that next step.”