Rotation programme was 'really important' for Saints coaches, says boss Boyd

Chris Boyd has given his assistant coaches the chance to lead Saints in recent weeks
Chris Boyd has given his assistant coaches the chance to lead Saints in recent weeks

Chris Boyd is pleased with how his coaching rotation programme has worked out.

The Saints boss gave each of his four assistants - Alan Dickens, Sam Vesty, Matt Ferguson and Phil Dowson - the chance to take charge of a Premiership Rugby Cup week.

Dickens led the way at Sale Sharks, Vesty in the game against Wasps, Ferguson for the clash with Saracens and Dowson last week at Leicester Tigers.

Saints lost their opening three matches before beating Tigers 31-22 at Welford Road.

They used the Premiership Rugby Cup block as a pre-season period to prepare for this Saturday's Gallagher Premiership opener at Saracens.

And Boyd said: "It's been really good.

"We had four weeks of the PRC and I decided it was an opportunity to give each of the four assistant coaches an opportunity to lead the programme for a week and develop some skills for themselves.

"It's really important for all of them, whether they're trying to hone their skills or develop their man management or overall programming and co-ordination skills.

"It gives them an opportunity in a different environment to grow those skills so I think it's good for the boys to have fresh ideas and fresh voices.

"It's been good all round."

On the performances in the Premiership Rugby Cup, Boyd said: "We've lacked consistency, but that lack of consistency came from some things we probably expected.

"If I go right back to Sale, we had seven debutants for the Saints and five guys who had played fewer than three games for the Saints.

"There was a lot of youth and a lot of exuberance but inexperience in tight situations.

"For us to understand where different players are in their development and them to understand how far or how close they are to being able to compete at that level and levels above has been really good for them.

"For our development and long-term planning it's been crucial.

"For us it got more important as the four-week block went on.

"We had an unbeaten pre-season last season but didn't have anywhere near the level of competition that we did this year.

"It was tough going straight into meaningful games without any (pre-season games).

"We did give everyone a 20-minute hit-out against Leinster so it was tough to approach it, but it's been really good."