Northampton Saints confirmed today that they have parted ways with long-serving director of rugby, Jim Mallinder.
According to a statement on the club’s website, the board made the decision to oust Mallinder, who took over at Northampton in 2007 and whose decade-long stint at the club’s helm is the longest of any director in the entire Aviva Premiership, due to a lengthy string of bad results.
Saints got off to a poor start this season, losing by 31 points to Saracens at Twickenham, but they bounced back to win four consecutive Aviva Premiership games. Since defeating Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens at the end of September, however, they have lost nine of ten games across all competitions. This run includes five straight defeats in the Premiership and has seen them plummet to tenth in the domestic league competition.
“Jim has been an outstanding director of rugby. We have been very lucky to have him at Franklin’s Gardens and he will always be a part of the Saints family,” said Northampton Saints Chairman, John White.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but the board and major shareholders felt that the time was right for some change.”
Per the club’s statement, Mallinder will be leaving his position with “immediate effect” and will be replaced in the short-term by attacking coach Alan Dickens, a former Saints scrum-half.
Club CEO Mark Darbon added that an “extensive” search will now start for a new director, with Saints seeking a “world class” replacement for Mallinder.
“Whilst that search is underway, we will look to bolster our existing coaching group with some additional leadership and experience on a short-term basis for this season,” added Darbon.
Mallinder, who had previously been head coach at Sale Sharks, took Saints from National League One back up to the Premiership in his first season as director in 2007, with the side going undefeated in that campaign. They also claimed the National Trophy that same year.
The side would go on to clinch the Premiership title under his stewardship in 2013-2014, as well as the Amlin Challenge Cup. He also won two European Challenge Cups with the club, in 2008-2009 and in 2013-2014.
Mallinder and the Saints famously came within a “whisker”, as the club’s statement put it, of winning the Heineken Cup in the 2010-2011 season, but were pipped by Leinster in the final after going in at half-time with a 22-6 lead.
Northampton’s next fixture is away to Ospreys at Liberty Stadium in the Champions Cup on December 17th. Their next Premiership game will see them host league leaders the Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Garden on December 23rd.