Northampton Saints today confirmed that current Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd has signed a three-year contract that will see him take over as the Aviva Premiership club’s Director of Rugby later this year.
Saints parted ways with longtime director Jim Mallinder in December following a string of poor results that saw them plummet to tenth in the Aviva Premiership. Attacking coach Alan Dickens initially acted as a short-term replacement for Mallinder until the club brought in highly-experienced Australian coach Alan Gaffney to lead the existing staff as an interim technical coaching consultant at the beginning of the year.
Following what Saints CEO Mark Darbon called an “extensive search”, however, Boyd has been selected as Mallinder’s long-term replacement and will take over from Gaffney in August.
“We are absolutely delighted Chris has accepted our offer to join the club,” said Darbon. “The club conducted an extensive search and Chris stood out as the exceptional candidate.”
“We said at the start of the process that we were looking for a world class director of Rugby, and we’ve secured one of the very best.”
“Chris’ CV speaks for itself; his achievements in Super Rugby are notable and his experience with the New Zealand age group sides is impressive. His track record of building a championship-winning side with a mix of experienced and young players was exactly what we were looking for.”
Indeed, the 59-year-old Boyd’s resume is an impressive one. He guided the Hurricanes to just their second Super Rubgy final in his first season in charge at the club in 2015 only to fall short against the Highlanders. The following season, however, he went one better, steering the Wellington side to their first Super Rugby title.
Boyd has also worked at international level, acting as an assistant coach for Tonga at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. During that tournament, Tonga scored two victories in a tough pool that was eventually topped by the All Blacks, beating Japan and causing a big upset against France before bowing out. Boyd also had a spell in charge of the New Zealand under-20 team.
“I am humbled and excited to be joining Saints,” Boyd said. “Northampton Saints is a Club I have admired all of my coaching career.”
“I visited Franklin’s Gardens for a week in 2004 when Wayne Smith was head coach, and remember the passion of the Saints supporters and the strong culture at the Club. “
“Franklin’s Gardens is an excellent stadium with first-class facilities, and when John White and Mark Darbon outlined the vision for Saints, it was a project I very much wanted to be part of.”
“The Club’s ambitions match my own – I am confident I can help the Saints become one of the biggest and best teams in Europe.”
“I have always aspired to coach in the Aviva Premiership and I am relishing the opportunity to work with this talented squad of players.”
Since Mallinder’s departure, Northampton Saints have played three times in the Aviva Premiership, losing to Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins before pipping Gloucester. They remain in tenth place in the domestic league competition. While they picked up the first win of their Champions Cup campaign, they also suffered two further defeats, consigning them to a bottom place finish in Pool 2. In their most recent fixture, Saints overcame Sale Sharks in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.