Gallagher Premiership high-flyers Northampton have appointed Ian Vass as their defence coach. The 38-year old former Saints player joins from Montpellier.

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“This is a massive opportunity for me, and I can’t wait to get stuck in,” he said. “I’m very excited about the direction in which Saints are heading and where they want to go under Chris Boyd.

“Defence is a huge part of the game which I’m extremely passionate about and I feel I can add to the set-up, moving forward.

“The playing squad is an exciting mix of world-class players and young English talent, so I couldn’t resist the challenge of working with them to help them develop.”

The former scrum-half made 57 appearances during two spells at Northampton before switching into professional coaching with the Saracens academy in 2013. 

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By 2017, he had been appointed head coach of England under-20s and he joined Montpellier later that year as their defence and skills coach. 

“It’s great to bring someone of Ian’s calibre onboard,” said Saints rugby director Boyd two days after the win at Wasps kept his team near the top of the Premiership. “He’s passionate about learning and about improving players. I’ve no doubt he will bring a high level of skill and knowledge to our existing English coaching group.

“I would like to thank interim defence coach Jake Sharp who has done an excellent job and will continue to progress at Saints given his high potential.”

The vacancy at Northampton arose in November when Alan Dickens became head coach of the England under-20s.

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