Dickens learning a lot from Saints promotion

LEARNING CURVE - Saints coach Alan Dickens (picture by Linda Dawson)
LEARNING CURVE - Saints coach Alan Dickens (picture by Linda Dawson)

Alan Dickens says he learned a lot from his promotion to Saints’ first-team coaching staff last season.

Dickens took up a role alongside Jim Mallinder and Dorian West following the departure of long-serving Paul Grayson last November.

The 37-year-old, who played scrum-half for Saints before retiring in 2010, had been a key figure in spearheading the club’s academy.

But he was thrust into the first-team spotlight and played his part as Northampton made it to the Aviva Premiership final.

Though the Twickenham showpiece ended in defeat to Leicester Tigers, former trainee teacher Dickens had learned plenty from his six months in his new role.

And he said: “You experience different kinds of situations and you can only learn from that.

“Year on year you learn, not just from games, but also from going on coaching courses here and there. You improve as a person and as a coach.”

Dickens will continue to work with the Saints first team this season, linking up with new coach Alex King, who has joined from Clermont Auvergne.

But the academy mentor will also continue to work with the club’s youngsters and the Wanderers to ensure there is a strong link between the senior setup and those around it.

“Alex will do the attack and I’ll do the defence,” explained Dickens.

“I’ll oversee the Wanderers and that transition phase between the senior academy to the professional game.

“It’s a link. It’s not just solely first team, it’s about overseeing that transition period from the academy into the first team.”