Dickens ends Saints stay as he is handed international role
Alan Dickens has ended his 11-year stay at Saints after being handed the role of England Under-20s head coach.
The 43-year-old will leave the club with immediate effect, with Academy coach Jake Sharp stepping up to become defence coach on an interim basis.
Dickens started life at Franklin's Gardens as a scrum-half, joining the club in April 2008 from Saracens.
He retired from playing in 2010 to take up the position of Saints Academy manager and he was promoted to the first-team coaching squad by Jim Mallinder two years later.
With Dickens as defence coach, Saints reached the Premiership final for the first time in 2013, eventually losing to Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.
But they were back at English rugby HQ a year later, beating Saracens to claim a first Premiership crown, adding to the Challenge Cup title they picked up on the previous weekend.
Dickens also coached the club’s hugely successful Wanderers side to Premiership Rugby A League finals in 2014 and 2016.
And internationally he toured South Africa as defence coach with England Saxons, with the side winning both matches against Springboks A.
The turbulent 2017/18 season saw Dickens step up as Saints’ interim head coach following the departure of Mallinder, and he lead the side away from danger and back up the Premiership table in the second half of the season.
He then returned to his role as defence coach under new director of rugby Chris Boyd.
And Dickens' good work has been recognised once again by the Rugby Football Association, who have moved to put him in charge of the next generation of England stars.
“Dicko has been a constant here at Saints over a long period of time,” said Saints boss Boyd.
“He’s been flexible within the coaching environment, taken on many roles here, and helped the club achieve success on the field.
“Alan has also developed countless individuals at the Gardens and has a great rapport with the players – he’s a fun guy to be around as well as a talented coach, so he’s been great for our environment.
“But this is a great opportunity for him to progress with the RFU, and so he leaves with my best wishes and thanks.”