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A clear favourite has emerged to replace Jim Mallinder - reports

By Ian Cameron
Richard Cockerill (L) and Mike Ford (R) at Toulon

It’s been reported that former Bath and Toulon head coach Mike Ford is the early favourite to take over from Jim Mallinder as Director of Rugby at Northampton Saints.

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The BBC report today that Ford who left Bath under a cloud last season could be willing to take the role on a short-term basis.

Ford is currently Director of Rugby at the Dallas Griffins and is helping them prepare for their entry into Major League Rugby, a new US-based professional league.

https://twitter.com/Mike7Ford/status/935086841795088384

Ford’s storied career has seen him take up various coaching roles at Bath, Saracens, Ireland, England and Toulon. The former Rugby League man has been tipped for the job and would be a solid stop-gap measure for a club who have found themselves without a Director of Rugby in the middle of their season.

Northampton Saints confirmed yesterday that Mallinder will be leaving his position at the club with immediate effect.

Alan Dickens, the club’s attack coach, will take over in the short-term position of interim head coach until a replacement is found for Mallinder.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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