- DOB2 Apr 1976
Alan Dickens is a former Sale Sharks, Leeds Tykes, Saracens and Northampton Saints scrum-half, and has been involved in the coaching set-up at Franklin’s Gardens since retiring as a player in 2010.
After graduating from University College Worcester and qualifying as a teacher, Dickens got his first taste of National League rugby playing for Stourbridge and then Manchester, before signing his first professional contract in 2001.
Following one season with Sale, he became Leeds’ first-choice scrum-half before helping the side lift the Powergen Cup in 2005 – beating Bath Rugby in the final at Twickenham.
A three-year stint with Saracens followed before Dickens began his affiliation with Saints in 2008, signing at Franklin’s Gardens in April.
Working alongside young scrum-halves Ben Foden and Lee Dickson, he also began to hone his skills as a coach at Derby RFC and retired in 2010 to take up the Club’s Academy Manager role.
Thanks to his fine efforts there, Dickens was promoted to the first-team coaching squad in 2012 by Jim Mallinder – and soon set about making Saints’ defence the tightest in the country.
With Dickens as defence coach, Northampton reached the Aviva Premiership final for the first time in 2013 before going on to win a league and European Challenge Cup double the following season.
Dickens also coached the Club’s highly-successful Wanderers side to Premiership Rugby A League finals in 2014 and 2016, and toured South Africa as defence coach with England Saxons – with the side winning both matches against Springboks A.
The 2017/18 season saw Dickens step up as Saints’ interim head coach following the departure of Mallinder, and he lead the side away from danger and back up the Premiership table in the second half of the season, before returning to his role as defence coach under new director of rugby Chris Boyd.