Alarming slide brings end to Mallinder's long-standing Saints spell

Northampton Saints say they will seek a 'world-class' rugby director to succeed Jim Mallinder at Franklin's Gardens.

Northampton Saints have sacked head coach Jim Mallinder. (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire)

Saints sacked Mallinder yesterday after 10 years in charge. He was the Aviva Premiership’s longest-serving director of rugby.

Mallinder guided Northampton to the Premiership title in 2014, and Saints were beaten European Cup finalists three years earlier.

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They also won the European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup under his direction.

But the club currently lie 10th in the Premiership, having won just four league games all season, and they also prop up their European Champions Cup pool following three successive losses, conceding more points than any other team in the tournament.

The final straw appears to have been last Saturday’s 43-32 European home defeat against Ospreys – Franklin’s Gardens was barely half full – and Saints have also twice shipped more than 50 points to Saracens this term. They have lost nine of their last 10 games in all competitions.

The vacancy created by Mallinder’s departure is certain to attract considerable interest, and it would be no surprise to see people like former England head coach Stuart Lancaster and ex-Bath boss Mike Ford linked with it.

Attack coach Alan Dickens will take over in a short-term position of interim head coach until a replacement is found for Halifax-born Mallinder.

“Jim has done a superb job as Northampton Saints’ director of rugby over the last decade, and the amount of silverware the club has won during his tenure speaks for itself,” said Saints chief executive Mark Darbon.

“We thank Jim for all he has done at Franklin’s Gardens.

“We will now begin an extensive search to find a world-class director of rugby to replace Jim.

“While that search is under way, we will look to bolster our existing coaching group with some additional leadership and experience on a short-term basis.”

Club chairman John White added: “This is not a decision that has been taken lightly, but we felt that the time was right for some change.”