Northampton Saints can today announce that Academy Coach Paul Diggin will be leaving the Club after 15 years at Franklin’s Gardens.
The 33-year-old has been a part of the Club’s furniture since his playing days, when he notched up 148 appearances and helped Saints claim numerous trophies along the way.
A versatile player who was equally comfortable at fly-half, on the wing or at fullback, fan-favourite Diggin was a graduate of Saints’ Academy system, and returned to where it all began in 2014.
As Academy Coach, ‘Digger’ – as he is affectionately known to most people around Franklin’s Gardens – has been invaluable in the development of the Club’s brightest talent for four seasons, spurring several players onto international honours and into the Saints’ first team.
“I truly have loved my time here at Franklin’s Gardens; all the way from my days as a player to my most recent role as Academy Coach,” said Diggin.
“I will never forget what it was like to pull on the Black, Green and Gold jersey, and I have so many brilliant memories playing for the Saints – our 2009 European Challenge Cup victory and run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011 amongst them.
“But I will also remember fondly my time with the Academy and everything we have accomplished over four years.
“I love the Club and I wish everyone here all the best for the end of this season and beyond.”
After captaining Northampton School for Boys’ 1st XV, local-lad Diggin progressed through the Academy at Franklin’s Gardens and into the Saints’ first-team squad.
After making his debut in 2004, Diggin was a key member of the Saints generation that earned an immediate return to the Premiership in 2008.
He was named Saints player of the year for the 2008/09 season and won the Challenge Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2009 and 2010 respectively. He went on to play every minute in eight of Saints’ nine matches on their run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011 – becoming the first Saint to score four tries in a European Cup match along the way.
And then along with former teammate and fellow Academy coach Mark Hopley, Diggin guided the Club’s Under-18s to the league title in 2014 and a runners-up finish the following season.
Saints CEO Mark Darbon said: “Paul has Black, Green and Gold in his veins and has been an incredible servant for the Club.
“Our Academy here at Northampton Saints has really benefitted from his input over the last four seasons, and we wish him all the best for the future.”