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Northampton to promote from within after 'Boyd leaving' revelation

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Northampton are reportedly set to promote from within to fill the vacancy created on Monday by the revelation that the highly-regarded Chris Boyd will head home to New Zealand at the end of the 2021/22 season in England. The 63-year-old Kiwi, who guided the Hurricanes to 2016 Super Rugby glory, has been at the Saints since 2018 but family reasons have accelerated his decision to quit the Premiership club. 

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While Northampton have yet to publicly comment on the change-up, Boyd won’t be cutting all ties as it has been reported by The Telegraph and the Northampton Chronicle that he will remain on in a consultancy role to provide guidance to the staff who are set to be promoted rather than the Saints go to the market to try and find a like-for-like replacement for the vastly experienced New Zealander.     

Phil Dowson, the 40-year-old ex-flanker who was capped seven times by England, has been working under Boyd as the Northampton forwards coach and he is poised to be named as the club’s new director of rugby for 2022/23. 

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The in-house theme won’t end there either as Sam Vesty, the 40-year-old twice capped England back who has been making waves as the Northampton attack coach, will become head coach under director Dowson. It was August 2020 when the pair last signed contract extensions under Boyd at the club.      

Northampton’s decision to back Dowson to take charge – and to also promote Vesty – will be viewed as a positive development for the growing crop of young homegrown coaches, figures such as George Skivington at Gloucester, Lee Blackett at Wasps and Steve Borthwick at Leicester, making a fine reputation for themselves in their first few years in charge in the Premiership.

Dowson and Vesty will take over a Northampton side that has improved on Boyd’s watch, reaching two Premiership semi-finals in three seasons while also winning the 2019 Premiership Cup. Following last weekend’s comprehensive win at Newcastle, they are currently in fifth place in the Premiership and in the hunt for a third playoff qualification before Boyd heads back to New Zealand to catch up with family he has been unable to see due to the pandemic.

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