New Zealander Chris Boyd will remain at Northampton until the end of the 2021/22 season after the director of rugby signed a contract extension on Friday ahead of Saints’ 2020/21 new season opener at Sale. Boyd arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in 2018, delivering a Premiership Rugby Cup trophy in his first season, as well as berths in the semi-finals of the Gallagher Premiership and quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

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While Saints’ post-lockdown form suffered a dip during the pandemic-hit 2019/20 league campaign, Boyd still had a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final and qualification for Europe’s elite competition in 2020/21 to show for his efforts.

Now, with at least two more years at the helm ahead of him at Saints, he is set to focus not only on delivering success with Northampton’s players, but also on continuing to upskill a talented group of young English coaches in Phil Dowson, Sam Vesty, Ian Vass and Matt Ferguson.

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“After the progress and success of my first year, for me unfortunately last season was unacceptable,” said Boyd. “But I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far at Saints and I’m determined to help this group of players and management staff realise their individual and combined potential.

“I’m delighted to extend my contract at Franklin’s Gardens. Saints is a fantastic organisation – from the owners, board and chief executive, through to the incredible sponsors, supporters and Northampton community.

“It’s a real family, which I’m proud to be part of, and that has made the decision to continue very easy for me. Saints currently presents such an enticing challenge, the decision to extend was a no-brainer. I’m totally committed to enhancing and growing the club on and off the field.”

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Boyd made the switch to Northampton from the Wellington-based Hurricanes, having coached the New Zealand franchise for four years and winning the Super Rugby title in 2016.

He previously gained experience with South African franchise Sharks, working as an assistant coach in Durban from 2009 to 2010, and coached the Baby Blacks (New Zealand’s U20s) between 2011 and 2014, as well as acting as an assistant coach during Tonga’s 2011 World Cup campaign.

Saints chief executive Mark Darbon believes Boyd is the right man to continue to drive the standards at Northampton. “In his first two seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, Chris has had a significant impact,” he said.

“Under his stewardship, alongside the excellent coaching team he has built, Saints have played some of the most exciting, free-flowing rugby in the Premiership – and we have shown that with a young group, on our day we are more than a match for anyone.

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“I know he has not yet achieved the consistency of performance he is looking for, but he is bringing through a crop of players who we hope will guide Saints to success over the next decade, and we know this will come with time.

“But what strikes me most about Chris is the impact on and off the pitch he has had on the culture of our squad, coaches and indeed all the staff around the club. He is a fantastic leader and our squad would run through a brick wall for him, so we are delighted to keep him in Northampton for two more seasons at least.”

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