Jim Mallinder commits future to Northampton with new deal

 

Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder has agreed a new contract with the Aviva Premiership club.

The Saints have announced that former England full-back Mallinder's deal will keep him at Franklin's Gardens until at least 2015.

Mallinder has been with Northampton for five years, a reign that has included Saints reaching last season's Heineken Cup final and three successive Premiership semi-finals.

Mallinder, 46, has also steered Saints to European Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup success, and he is the Premiership's current longest-serving rugby director.

He was backed by many pundits as a potential successor to Martin Johnson when he stepped down as England manager following the World Cup flop in New Zealand last autumn.

But Mallinder pledged his future to Northampton, and he will now be in charge for at least the next three seasons.

Mallinder said that signing his contract extension had been a straightforward decision for him.

"I am very happy at Northampton Saints," Mallinder said.

"We also have a talented group of coaches and support staff which is among the best in the league. We all want the club to improve year on year and are committed to working together to achieve that.

"We have come a long way in a short period of time, but I know that there is more to come in the future.

"We have won silverware and played in some massive occasions, and this is where I know we can compete year in, year out, and regularly bring major trophies to the club.

"The fact that my family is settled and happy in the area also played a major part in my decision to sign again. We all feel very at home in the Northampton area and feel a part of the community here."

Saints chairman Leon Barwell said Mallinder's new deal was crucial towards the club's future plans.

"Jim signing his new contract is terrific news for the club and underpins our aspirations for the future," Barwell said.

"As we see so often in sports across the world, having continuity of management is crucial in a club's long-term success, and this is exactly what Jim brings to the Saints.

"You cannot overstate how important he has been to the rejuvenation of the team, which then has a massive part to play in everything else we do at the club.

"He is a first-class coach, one of the best in England, and a terrific guy to have at the club."

PA

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