Northampton Saints can today announce that Defence Coach Alan Dickens will be stepping away from his role with immediate effect to become Head Coach of England men U20s.
The 43-year-old has been involved in the coaching set-up at Franklin’s Gardens since retiring as a player in 2010, taking on the roles of Academy Manager, Defence Coach, Attack Coach and Interim Head Coach during his tenure with the Club.
“This is a great opportunity for Alan to progress with the RFU, and so he leaves with my best wishes and thanks.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
After being promoted to the first-team coaching squad in November of the 2012-13 campaign, Dickens helped guide Saints to a first Premiership final that season before going on to win a league and European Challenge Cup double in 2013-14. His final full season in Northampton saw Saints lift the inaugural Premiership Rugby Cup and reach the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals.
Academy Coach Jake Sharp will step up into the vacant Defence Coach role on an interim basis.
“Dicko has been a constant here at Saints over a long period of time,” said Northampton’s Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd. “He’s been flexible within the coaching environment, taken on many roles here, and helped the Club achieve success on the field.
“Alan has also developed countless individuals at the Gardens and has a great rapport with the players – he’s a fun guy to be around as well as a talented coach, so he’s been great for our environment.
“But this is a great opportunity for him to progress with the RFU, and so he leaves with my best wishes and thanks.”
Dickens will begin his new role with the RFU with immediate effect, and will lead England U20s during the Six Nations early next year.
“I’ve always had a connection with the town, so first to play for the Club and then to coach here has been a privilege.”Alan Dickens
He will return to Franklin’s Gardens with the Red Rose for the first time on Friday 21 February, as England host Ireland for their third clash of the tournament – tickets are available now and can be purchased by CLICKING HERE.
Dickens said: “Northampton Saints has not only been a huge part of my coaching career so far, it’s been a huge part of my life.
“My dad was from Northampton so as a kid we supported the Club together. I’ve always had a connection with the town, so first to play for the Club and then to coach here has been a privilege – my kids now support Northampton too and were pretty upset to hear I’d be leaving!
“I leave having made some amazing memories – that semi-final against Leicester in 2014 stands out in particular – and learned from some tough experiences. Franklin’s Gardens is a fantastic place. I coached a lot of the current first-team squad when they were starting out as teenagers, so I’m extremely proud of their progress.
“I want to thank both Jim Mallinder and Chris Boyd for the opportunities they have given me, but I have been at Northampton for my entire coaching career so far, and to progress I have to go away and develop further.
“I’m already looking forward to coming back to the Gardens in February with England; it’s a proper rugby stadium with supporters who love the game, so that will be a special moment for me.”