Dusty Hare retires as the Saints’ Academy manager this weekend and says that he is leaving the club’s development system in a good place.
Hare has been at Franklin’s Gardens for seven-and-a-half years and under his leadership the Saints Academy has produced both a string of first teamers but also several World Rugby Under-20 champions and age group internationals.
As well as individual development the club’s youngsters have had collective success, winning the Premiership Rugby ‘A’ League in 2017, reaching two more ‘A’ League finals and winning the Premiership Rugby Academies League in 2013/14.
“As Academies we’re supposed to develop players, which to my mind is about making them winners,” Hare says in an extensive and exclusive interview in this weekend’s match programme.
“Also, you need to have a team that plays well to enable an individual to take the next step on their journey. I just think that winning is the way forward and making that player feel that he’s responsible.
“So an Academy programme is about individuals who have come through into a Senior Academy and then first team squad. But winning games is also a success. We had the success we did with the Under-18s winning their titles because Alan Dickens and Mark Hopley worked so hard for the Academy then. And this year Paul Diggin is doing some fine work on the field; our Under-18s are unbeaten and I have high hopes that we’re going to do well over the winter.
“Meanwhile developing young coaches is great for the club. We’ve got an infrastructure that is developing from within and that’s healthy.
“I look at where we are now, and you take that day against Leicester a couple of weeks ago where we had eight players who had come through the Academy involved in the first team, and 16 of the 23 in the second team that beat the Tigers 38-10 had come through the Academy. That’s a success for me, seeing that happen on the field. We won the ‘A’ League last year, too, and I’m leaving the Academy as a very satisfied person.
“Time has come for me to leave the game full-time, and I know it’s the right decision, but I also know that I will continue to be involved somewhere in the game. I love it.”
The full interview, which includes Hare looking back on his rugby career (with a bit of cricket thrown in for good measure!) is in tomorrow’s match programme, on sale for £3 throughout Franklin’s Gardens or online by CLICKING HERE.
Match tickets are also available for the big Aviva Premiership match against Harlequins, which kicks off at 3:00pm and is not on live TV. CLICK HERE to book online, and use Print@Home to beat the match day queues!