Northampton Saints: Alan Dickens and Phil Dowson complete coaching team

Phil Dowson (left) and Alan Dickens
Phil Dowson (left) retired at Worcester last season to rejoin Northampton as a coach

Northampton Saints have named interim head coach Alan Dickens and former back row Phil Dowson as part of incoming boss Chris Boyd's coaching team.

Dickens has led the Premiership side since Jim Mallinder's sacking and will be defence coach for the second time.

Dowson ended last season in the role but will now be forwards coach under Boyd, who takes charge in August.

"I've had a few good chats with Chris Boyd and I'm really desperate to try and make it work," Dowson said.

"I learned a huge amount about myself (last season), about coaching and about the group of players and I'm really keen to continue those lessons but in a more successful vein."

Dowson, 36, made 187 appearances for Saints, leaving in 2015 to join Worcester before retiring and returning as an academy coach last year, and he replaces Dorian West.

"You have to look back on Dorian West's career and say how successful he'd been, and I'd also say that I've learned an awful amount from how he managed the squad and got the best out of the forwards," he told BBC Radio Northampton.

Dickens, 42, was previously defence coach under Mallinder between 2012-16.

The pair join Matt Ferguson and Sam Vesty in Boyd's coaching team for the 2018-19 Premiership campaign.

New Zealander Boyd, whose title will be director of rugby, told the club website: "I said when I took this role that I wanted a young English coaching group, and I'm pleased to have assembled one which is highly motivated and ambitious."

Analysis

BBC Radio Northampton sports editor Graham McKechnie:

Alan Dickens deserves a lot of credit for how he stepped in as head coach following the departure of Jim Mallinder. He did not ask for the job, but took it on without letting anyone down.

Phil Dowson's rise has been rapid but not premature. The players all speak very highly of him and he has skills were quickly recognised, firstly by Alan Gaffney and now by Chris Boyd.

He has made what can be a difficult transition from player to coach with remarkable ease.

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