West says Saints board ‘very supportive’ of coaching team

Dorian West says the Saints board have been ‘very supportive’ of the club’s coaching staff.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 18th January 2013, 12:56 pm

West and director of rugby Jim Mallinder, who signed a new three-year deal at Northampton last May, have been in charge since 2007.

During their five and a half years in charge, Saints have reached three Premiership semi-finals and a Heineken Cup final.

They have also won the European Challenge Cup and the LV= Cup, but a piece of major silverware continues to elude them.

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The failure to land a big pot has prompted criticism from some sections of the media, but West says there has been no pressure from the Saints hierarchy.

“They’ve been very supportive of us,” he said. “The rugby’s our thing to look after, the board deal with finances and little bits and bobs we need to be a good team and I think we’ve got that.

“I’m fairly sure we’ve got full support of the board, we’re working hard and we’ll carry on doing so.”

Though the board are happy with how things are going, West does admit the coaches are frustrated at the failure to win the Premiership of the Heineken Cup.

But he says it is understandable, given the amount of money spent by other teams in the pursuit of glory.

“We seem to be getting a lot of criticism at the moment for not winning big trophies, but when you actually look at the fact it’s money that wins trophies, it’s becoming harder and harder,” he said.

“We’re frustrated that we’re not winning those trophies, but we take pleasure from the fact we come to work every day, we’ve got a good group of coaches, we’ve got a good group of players and we work hard and try to be the best we can be.

“We’ll win some games that people don’t think we’ll win, and we’ll lose some games people don’t think we should have won, but that’s how it is.

“We’ll work hard and we’ll try to get the best out of what we’ve got.”

So what can Saints fans realistically expect from their side for the remainder of this campaign?

“Our expectation is to be competitive in every game we play, and I think we’ve been that,” said West.

“We’ve lost a couple of games against the top sides by the odd score, we’ve won some big games away from home that people haven’t given us a chance of winning so that’s our aim, to carry on doing that.

“If we keep winning the majority of our games, we’re going to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

“We need our lads to remain fit and that’s something that we’re conscious of and we’re working on.

“We need them to come back from England in a good frame of mind and in good physical condition and then we’ve got a chance to push on.

“We’re in a position at the minute, where we’re still in the mix and that’s important.”