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'A very easy decision': Coaching trio commit to high-flying Saints

By Josh Raisey
Phil Dowson, (L) the Northampton Saints director of rugby looks on with head coach Sam Vesty during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Harlequins at the cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on November 24, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Northampton Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson has signed a contract extension at Franklin’s Gardens alongside head coach Sam Vesty and lineout coach James Craig.

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In only the second season of Dowson and Vesty at the helm of the Saints following Chris Boyd’s departure, they have guided them to the top of the Gallagher Premiership ladder and have booked a home Investec Champions Cup round of 16 clash against Munster.

These deals mean the current coaching set-up at Northampton will remain together moving forward after scrum coach Matt Ferguson and defence coach Lee Radford signed new deals last season.

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After signing the new deal, Dowson said: “I’m loving my time at Northampton Saints, as I always have done – whether it be as a player, coach, or now as Director of Rugby,”

“I’m really excited about the group we have together now, and seeing where we can take the Club moving forward.

“The difference from being a coach to being Director of Rugby has been huge, but I’ve been helped hugely by the likes of Chris Boyd, Sam Vesty, the other coaches here and the department heads at Saints to make that transition. You have to learn quickly when you make mistakes, but I’ve really enjoyed the whole process and I really feel like I have found my feet now in my second year.

“I love competing, that passion still burns within me from my playing days, and Northampton is a wonderful place to play rugby. My goal moving forward is just to make sure I give all the players, the other coaches, and all the staff every opportunity I can to learn, improve and achieve what we all want to achieve.

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“We’ve built a brilliant environment here and we want to keep getting better.”

Vesty, who is currently working with England A this week ahead of their fixture against Portugal on Sunday, added: He said: “Signing on again at Saints was a very easy decision for me. It’s a fantastic place to be, we’ve got a great playing group, and I’m excited to see how far they can go.

“This Club is very much about the people who are here – players, coaches, staff, supporters and so on. My family and I feel at home, we love living in Northampton, and we are surrounded by people who support us.

“Everyone’s attitude at the Club is geared towards wanting to be better every single day, and any help I can provide on that journey is really what motivates me, so I jumped at the opportunity to stay on.

“I’ve always tried to bring a lot of energy to what we’re doing, and I thoroughly enjoy my job which I think shows – I’m definitely a little greyer since I started back in 2018, but it’s been a real privilege to mature with this group.

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“We still have a long way to go; the end of the journey isn’t in sight, but we want to set the bar as high as we can and shoot for the stars – if we do that, and keep getting better, we can be a very successful team.”

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