While the search for a long-term replacement for former director of rugby Jim Mallinder continues, Northampton Saints have appointed veteran Australian coach Alan Gaffney as an interim technical coaching consultant.
The vastly experienced Gaffney, who has most recently worked as the National Elite Programmes Coach with Rugby Australia, has prior experience coaching in the English Premiership having served as the Saracens director of rugby between 2006 and 2008. The 70-year-old’s most notable achievements, however, all came whilst he was working across the Irish Sea. Gaffney was the backs coach for Ireland when they won the Grand Slam in 2009 and he held the same position, as well as that of technical consultant, with Leinster when they claimed the Heineken Cup later that same year.
Gaffney has also served as head coach at Munster, assistant coach for the Australian national team and senior assistant coach at the New South Wales Waratahs.
“We are delighted to have recruited Alan as our technical coaching consultant until the end of the season,” said Northampton Saints CEO Mark Darbon.
“Alan is hugely experienced and admired throughout the game for being a forward thinking, innovative rugby coach. His CV speaks for itself; he has been successful with some of the best teams in the world – including winning a Six Nations Grand Slam and a Heineken Cup – and he has a clear understanding of how to set-up an effective all-around rugby team. He also has a proven track record of developing some of the world’s best coaches and players.”
“Alan will take on responsibility for the rugby department and will lead the existing coaching group made up of Alan Dickens, Dorian West, Mark Hopley, and Phil Dowson,”
Saints parted ways with the aforementioned Mallinder, who had held the club’s reins since 2007, earlier this month following a string of poor results and appointed Dickens acting head coach. In a statement released just after Mallinder’s departure, the club stated that they were beginning an “extensive” search for a “world class” successor.
Northampton Saints are in Aviva Premiership action tomorrow, as they face Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop, but Gaffney won’t officially take charge until New Year’s Day – five days ahead of Gloucester’s visit to Franklin’s Gardens.
The team currently sits tenth in the Premiership standings with eleven games played.