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Northampton Saints' fiesty new head honcho fires shot at Steve Hansen

By Ian Cameron
Chris Boyd. Photo / Getty Images

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Struggling Northampton Saints received a timely boost this week with the announcement that Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd is to become their director of rugby next season.

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The appointment’s caused a stir in New Zealand, where his departure is viewed as the latest loss of coaching talent fron the island.

Boyd has said he was left with little option in New Zealand, saying there is basically nowhere for Super Rugby coaches to go in terms of a career path in the country after they’ve coached a franchise.

“It came down to six or seven (offers)… once you get to Super Rugby head coach in New Zealand there’s nowhere really to go.

“It is an issue potentially for New Zealand rugby, the experience and intellectual property which ends up overseas.”

He also made comments which suggest a strained relationship with All Blacks headcoach Steve Hansen. At a press conference following the announcement, Boyd was asked had he spoken with anyone in the All Blacks hierarchy regarding the switch.

“I haven’t spoken to Steve Hansen in three years so nothing changes in that space.”

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The capture of Boyd represents a major coup for Saints, who effectively sacked longtime director of rugby Jim Mallinder after a unprecedented run of loses.

Boyd has a CV that speaks for itself: he has coached the Hurricanes since the 2015 campaign, guiding the New Zealand franchise to their first-ever Super Rugby title the following year. He also has 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 under-20s side, between 2011 and 2014.

Boyd was also an assistant coach during Tonga’s 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign when the pacific island nation famously beat France – the eventual losing finalists – for the first time.

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“We are absolutely delighted Chris has accepted our offer to join the club,” said Northampton Saints CEO Mark Darbon.

“The club conducted an extensive search and Chris stood out as the exceptional candidate.

“We said at the start of the process that we were looking for a world-class director of Rugby, and we’ve secured one of the very best.”

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