Boyd happy with first season in charge at Saints, but he is aiming higher
Chris Boyd has spoken about how much he has enjoyed his first season as director of rugby with the Saints - and his hopes for the future.
The New Zealander defied the odds to guide Saints to a top-four finish in the Gallagher Premiership, but their title dream was ended at the weekend when they were thumped 42-12 at Exeter Chiefs in the play-off semi-final.
The Devon side now go on to face Saracens in Saturday's showpiece at Twickenham, while the Saints players can think about putting their feet up and enjoying the summer break; although you get the feeling Boyd won't be having too much time off.
Taking over a team that only finished ninth last season, Boyd has secured that semi-final spot as well as European Champions Cup rugby next season, and he says he is pretty satisfied with how things turned out.
He had set a pre-season target of a top-six finish for Saints, but they exceeded that, so when did Boyd believe a top-four finish could be achieved?
"I think it built slowly," said the former Hurricanes head coach.
"The underlying goal was always to get back into the top tier in Europe, and if we could get anything more than that then it was a bonus.
"We started chasing the bonus to see if we could get into the top four, and we snuck in by the skin of our teeth.
"We wanted to go to Exeter and put on a credible performance, which we didn't quite get right, but I think the foundations of our game have been laid down this year.
"I think we have made steady progress to the way we want to play, and it's down to us now to work hard in the off season and come back and see if we can put some more consistency in our game."
When asked if he has enjoyed his first campaign in English rugby, Boyd said: "I have really, really enjoyed it.
"Everybody said to me it is a bit of a grind, a bit of a route march, but I haven't found that at all.
"It is a long season, but there is time to mix it up and there is time to have breaks in the middle, although next season looks a bit more daunting.
"I have really enjoyed Northampton Saints, it is a really solid club.
"I have enjoyed the town, the supporters are great, and the Gardens when it is full and rocking is great as well.
"I have enjoyed the management team and the players, and all in all it has been a really good first year experience for me."