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Will Parkin to depart Northampton Saints Academy set-up

Northampton Saints can today confirm that Academy Coach, Will Parkin, will depart the Club to join England’s Pathways Programme coaching staff.

Parkin will join the RFU this autumn to start a full-time role with the England men’s Under-18s coaching team as an assistant under Head Coach Jonathan Pendlebury, filling the role vacated by Mark Mapletoft who was promoted to England men’s U20 Head Coach in May.

The 29-year-old coach has been working at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens for over a decade, most recently as Academy Coach where he led Northampton Saints’ Under-18 side to back-to-back Premiership Rugby U18 Academy League finals.

Previously Parkin looked after the men in Black, Green and Gold’s Under-16 players within Saints Academy’s Player Development Group programme, having transitioned into the Academy set-up initially from the Club’s Community department.

“Will should be incredibly proud of what he’s achieved over the last ten years and how far he’s come as a coach, because he’s worked incredibly hard to become as good as he can be,” said Mark Hopley, Northampton’s Head of Academy.

“He cares massively about helping people realise their potential, and the relationships he has had with our most promising young players have been outstanding. Underpinning all that is his work ethic, as he is so committed to everyone improving around him – he is someone you have to convince to take time off, rather than the other way around.

“Year on year, the quality of the Under-18s coming into the senior group on full-time contracts from the Academy has got better and better, and Will has been a huge part of that – so the challenge for us now is to ensure that continues in his absence.

“We’re sorry to see him leave the Club, but he very much deserves this opportunity with England and I’ve no doubt he will thrive in that environment.”

Mark Hopley, Head of Academy

Parkin added: “I’d like to thank Northampton Saints for being my home for the last decade, as well as all the staff at the Club, and all the coaches from clubs and schools who have supported the boys in the Academy over the last ten years.

“It’s been a privilege working with players across the whole pathway, and to play a small part in the development of those lads that have gone on to play for the Club.

“The support from the coaches here at Saints has been hugely influential on my career – specifically from Sam Vesty and Tram [James Craig]. But Hoppers [Mark Hopley] deserves a special mention because the support and trust he put in me has allowed me to continue developing and progressing in my career.

“I am very excited to be starting with the England men’s Under-18s coaching staff as an Attack Coach. I’ve been in and around the group for a couple of seasons while maintaining my role with Northampton, but to now be working alongside Jon and his squad on a full-time basis is a new opportunity for growth and one I’m ready to take head on.”

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