Gaffney has complete confidence in fellow Saints coaches

Alan Gaffney met the media for the first time on Tuesday
Alan Gaffney met the media for the first time on Tuesday

Alan Gaffney says he has total confidence in his fellow Saints coaches.

And the new Northampton coaching consultant has defended forwards coach Dorian West after recent criticism from supporters and pundits.

Gaffney will spearhead the current management staff, which also includes interim head coach Alan Dickens, defence coach Phil Dowson and assistant coach Mark Hopley.

The Australian started work at Franklin's Gardens, filling the void left by director of rugby Jim Mallinder until the end of the current campaign.

Dickens was the man who made initial contact with Gaffney, who explained: "First contact was made in a very light-hearted way by Alan Dickens just after Jim had finished here.

"He just made a comment about whether I'd be interested and I got a phone call the week before Christmas. I got here by New Year's Eve."

And on his relationship with Dickens and the other current Saints coaches, Gaffney said: "I know them very well.

"I coached Dicko at Sarries many years ago and I tried to get Dorian into Sarries going back more than 10 years.

"At that point, his wife didn't want to move from Leicester and he came to Northampton and was successful working with Jim.

"I've been here since Sunday and I went to the Wanderers game on the weekend - I was really happy with what they did.

"They went and played, they played with enthusiasm and it was good.

"They made mistakes and it wasn't perfect.

"It's the same coaches coaching that team and I understand it's a different level but it's still the same voices.

"I've got a lot of confidence in the other coaches.

"Dicko has got an enormous amount of enthusiasm and always has had.

"I've heard certain things have been said about Dorian but I can only speak in the highest manner about him since I've been here.

"I've spent a lot of time with him and he's got a lot to offer, having won competitions with Northampton and what he's done over a long period of time.

"You don't become a bad coach overnight and I've got the utmost confidence in what's there.

"I'd known Phil Dowson as a rugby player but I didn't know him as a person and from what I've seen during the past 48 hours, I think he's going to be an outstanding coach."

On his own role in the Saints set up, Gaffney said: "It's an assisting type role with Alan Dickens, Dorian and Dows.

"I've been round the block a few times and I'll consult with them to see if changes have got to be made.

"It's going to be a process between all of us.

"A lot will be done with Alan and Dorian.

"It's going to take me some time to work out where players are.

"I saw three or four games over the last little while, but it's been more a cursory look at the games.

"Now, since I've been here during the past 48 hours, I've seen more of the games on the computer.

"It's about going through games, finding out where players are at and I think it's all going to turn out in a positive way."