Dickens learned a lot during difficult season at Saints

Alan Dickens will be defence coach at Saints next season (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Alan Dickens will be defence coach at Saints next season (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Alan Dickens admits last season taught him a lot as he looks forward to a fresh role at Saints during the next campaign.

Dickens took on a tough job when he became interim head coach following the departure of long-serving director of rugby Jim Mallinder in December.

Saints were on a horrible run of form, losing 12 of their final matches in 2017, but they eventually started to turn things around under Dickens and technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney.

The black, green and gold have won seven of their 15 matches in 2018 and finished the season in ninth in the Aviva Premiership, well clear of relegated London Irish.

Chris Boyd will take over as boss when he arrives from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes this summer.

And Boyd has moved to surround himself with young, ambitious English coaches, with Phil Dowson named as forwards coach, Matt Ferguson assistant coach and Sam Vesty attack coach.

Dickens will fill the role of defence coach, which is a position he held before becoming interim head coach.

And the 42-year-old said: "I’m really looking forward to next season already and I am hugely driven to help the whole squad as much as I can.

"This season taught me a lot as a coach, and I’m now focused on playing my part within this new coaching team.”