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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Saints appoint Mallinder as coach
Jim Mallinder
Mallinder coached England Saxons to the Churchill Cup title
Northampton have named England Saxons coach Jim Mallinder as their new director of rugby in a three-year deal.

Mallinder will be supported by former Leicester hooker Dorian West, his Saxons assistant.

Acting head coach Peter Sloane will leave the League One club, but former boss Paul Grayson is expected to stay.

"Despite the current position, Saints is still one of the biggest clubs in Europe and I can't wait to start working," said Mallinder.

The pair were both under contract to the Rugby Football Union but England's elite rugby director Rob Andrew and chief executive Francis Baron agreed to their release.

But a clause in the deal enables the RFU to contact them should England's head coach job come up.

As a coaching partnership, the duo guided England Under-21s to the 2006 Grand Slam and England's second-string Saxons side to the Churchill Cup title earlier this month.

Our immediate objective is simply to get promotion back to the Guinness Premiership

Jim Mallinder

Mallinder spent 15 years as a player and then coach at Sale, where he won the 2002 Parker Pen Shield and took the club to second in the Guinness Premiership.

Three years ago he joined the RFU's National Academy, where he worked with present England chief Brian Ashton.

"In our National Academy roles we have seen quite a lot of Saints players over the past couple of seasons and I am convinced that the club has the potential to dominate the domestic game in the medium term," said Mallinder.

"In the meantime, however, our immediate objective is simply to get promotion back to the Guinness Premiership."

Saints chief executive Allan Robson said: "We placed a good deal of emphasis not only on the ability to create an immediate impact on performances but also on the longer term development of the young English talent at the club.

"The Board were unanimous in their opinion that Jim and Dorian have the right credentials for the job."

The RFU will advertise for replacements immediately and Northampton chairman Keith Barwell: "I am grateful to Rob Andrew and Francis Baron for agreeing to release Jim and Dorian."

Warren Gatland, Wayne Smith, Scott Johnson and Andy Robinson were also in the frame for the Saints role.

Former Saints and England fly-half Grayson was demoted to backs and skills coach after the Saints were relegated from the Premiership this season.

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