Mallinder pens new deal at Saints

Pictures by Linda Dawson
Pictures by Linda Dawson

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In just five short years Mallinder has taken the Saints from the pain of relegation to being considered one of the top clubs in Aviva Premiership Rugby and in the Heineken Cup.

Indeed the club has not enjoyed such consistent levels of success – four trophies; five finals in five years, including the 2011 Heineken Cup final; and three successive Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals – since the 1950s and 60s.

Individuals have also flourished under the Yorkshireman’s guidance, with a modern-day record of eight players chosen in England’s 2012 Six Nations Elite Player Squad and no fewer than six England regulars having made their international debut since joining the club.

Mallinder has also rejuvenated the Saints Academy, appointing Dusty Hare to manage a production line which is now providing the first team squad with a steady stream of exciting young and talented players.

Already Aviva Premiership Rugby’s longest-serving current director of rugby, by the end of his new contract Mallinder will have been in charge of the team at Franklin’s Gardens for eight years, stability which chairman Leon Barwell says is vitally important for the continued growth and development of the club.

“Jim signing his new contract is terrific news for the club and underpins our aspirations for the future,” he said. “As we see so often in sports across the world having continuity of management is crucial in a club’s long-term success, and this is exactly what Jim brings to the Saints.

“You cannot overstate how important he has been to the rejuvenation of the team, which then has a massive part to play in everything else we do at the club. He is a first class coach, one of the best in England, and a terrific guy to have at the club.

“Like everyone at Franklin’s Gardens I am delighted that Jim has extended his commitment to the club until at least 2015, and I’m sure that Saints supporters everywhere are looking forward to the team continue to flourish under his leadership.”

Mallinder said that signing his contract extension had been a straightforward decision for him.

“I’m very happy at Northampton Saints,” he said. “We also have a talented group of coaches and support staff which is among the best in the league. We all want the club to improve year on year and are committed to working together to achieve that.

“We have come a long way in a short period of time, but I know that there is more to come in the future. We have won silverware and played in some massive occasions, and this is where I know we can compete year in, year out, and regularly bring major trophies to the club.

“The fact that my family is settled and happy in the area also played a major part in my decision to sign again. We all feel very at home in the Northampton area and feel a part of the community here.

“I’m proud to be director of rugby of the Saints, which has a great history and fantastic supporters, and I’m looking forward to bringing more success to the club in the future.”