Diggin decides to call time on 15-year stay at Saints

Paul Diggin has been coaching at Saints since retiring in 2014
Paul Diggin has been coaching at Saints since retiring in 2014

Paul Diggin has opted to call time on his 15-year stay at Saints as he prepares for a fresh chapter in his career.

The 33-year-old has recently been part of the Academy coaching setup, having retired from playing at Franklin's Gardens in 2014.

Diggin made 148 appearances for Saints after graduating from the Academy and he has gone on to have a big influence on the next generation of Northampton players.

But he has decided the time is now right for a change of direction.

And he said: "I've been at the club since I was 16 and I've got a feeling that I want to try some new avenues and now was probably the best time to say goodbye.

"I'd like to stay in rugby, but I'm also going to explore some new avenues.

"All I've done is rugby for 15 years so I've got lots of time for reflection now and my path might be in rugby or it might be in something else."

Diggin says the recent coaching changes at Saints, which included the departure of director of rugby Jim Mallinder in December, have had no influence on his decision.

"It's a personal thing," he said.

"None of the coaches know what is happening yet with Chris Boyd coming in, so that hasn't affected any of us really.

"I spoke to the club and they didn't want me to go, but they understood."

Diggin was heading back to Saints to say some goodbyes on Wednesday afternoon.

And he added: "It is daunting but it is also exciting.

"I've woken up today and it's the first time I haven't had to go to work.

"I've been out shopping for paint, so how life changes in 24 hours!

"I'm going back to say goodbye to everyone, have a bit of lunch with the coaches and there's a great support network in Northampton.

"I'm looking forward to speaking to people in the town over the next couple of weeks and hopefully I can give a little bit back."