'Seamless' start to new era at Saints

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Matt Ferguson says the start of the new era at Saints has been 'pretty seamless'.

Phil Dowson has stepped up from his role as forwards coach to become the club's new director of rugby, taking over from Chris Boyd, who departed this summer.

Boyd will still be offering his wisdom as he is now technical coaching consultant, based at his home in New Zealand.

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But the key work will be done by Dowson and head coach Sam Vesty, along with the likes of defence coach Ian Vass and assistant coach Ferguson.

Matt Ferguson (picture: Tom Kwah/Northampton Saints)Matt Ferguson (picture: Tom Kwah/Northampton Saints)
Matt Ferguson (picture: Tom Kwah/Northampton Saints)

When asked how the management team are adjusting now Boyd has gone, Ferguson said: “In terms of day-to-day running, there's not a significant difference.

“In terms of the cups of tea and the wisdom after training, that's no longer there.

“But on the grass, it was already a well-oiled machine anyway, led by Sam (Vesty) and Dows.

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“Certainly the conversations post-training are a little bit different.

“Boyd's deliberately taken some downtime so he's not been in front of the squad yet.

“He's letting this new group get things started and I believe he's due to join us as the season starts.

“Everyone knows he's always a text message or a phone call away.

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“It's been pretty seamless into the new era and it's about building on the foundations of the past four years.”

Saints returned for pre-season training last month and they will play two games, against Bedford Blues and Ospreys, before the new campaign starts on September 8.

And Ferguson is happy with how the new-look squad is shaping up.

“What I've noticed was that the first week felt very much like a training week rather than a pre-season week where you often go back into the foundations and skills of the game,” Ferguson said.

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“When I spoke to Sam (Vesty) about it, it became apparent that the players we've brought in have allowed us to drive standards and keep driving our learning.

“In terms of ingredients, we may have replaced one item with a slightly better brand from the shelf which is actually adding to the flavour.

“You look across the squad and the quality we've brought in has allowed us to build on those foundations.”