Saints appoint Boyd as new boss: Tom Vickers' view

Not only does Chris Boyd appear to be the ideal appointment for Saints - but the announcement of the new director of rugby has come at the perfect time, too.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 8:56 pm
Updated Monday, 29th January 2018, 9:02 pm
Chris Boyd will bring a fresh outlook to Saints when he arrives in August (picture: Steve Haag)

Just as the spirits of supporters have been lifted by coaching consultant Alan Gaffney's arrival at the start of 2018, another big boost comes in the form of Boyd.The 59-year-old will take charge at Saints in August, picking up the baton from Gaffney, who arrived on a deal until the end of the season.Gaffney has done a good job of filling the void left by Jim Mallinder's departure in December, winning three of his four matches in charge so far.And when Boyd makes his way to Northampton after concluding the Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes, he will hope the feel-good factor has remained.But even if it hasn't, he looks like the perfect man to make sure it returns for the long-term.Boyd's work with the Hurricanes has been described as 'second to none' by those close to the club.He has taken the Wellington-based outfit to new heights, steering them to their first Super Rugby title in 2016.In the previous season, they had lost in the final, and just last year they lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs.

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Overall, Boyd's brilliant record reads: played 54, won 43.The sort of perennial title challenge he has brought to the Hurricanes used to exist at Saints, who reached the Premiership play-off semi-finals in every season between 2009 and 2015.Since then, they have slipped to fifth, seventh and, so far in the current campaign, 10th.They still harbour hopes of improvement thanks to the new-found confidence that has come from Gaffney's words of wisdom and the upbeat work of Alan Dickens.But some extra magic would be welcome, and Boyd appears to be able to bring it.He is currently working with some of the biggest names in world rugby, such as the Barrett brothers and Julian Savea.

And he has extensive coaching experience, not only at the Hurricanes but on the international scene, too.He has coached the New Zealand Under-20s and played a part with Tonga in a World Cup campaign, too.Boyd is known for the attacking brand of rugby Saints are desperate to play, and have managed to develop in patches this season.He is known to be a deep thinker and casual character who also carries a bite, as outlined by his youngest brother, Matthew."He's definitely laid back in appearance, but not in his ideas and his beliefs," Matthew said.

"He doesn't put up with people not turning up to training, or not giving 100 per cent."If you aren't giving a hundy (100 per cent), then go somewhere else."He cruises around in his shorts and he's comfortable in that, but when it comes down to thinking out a game plan, or thinking out training to suit different conditions, there is no casualness there."Those words will come as music to the ears of the Saints supporters, who feel their squad is in need of a shake-up.Boyd will have his chance to perform surgery at Franklin's Gardens and that is why this announcement comes in the nick of time.With uncertainty surrounding a plethora of current Saints squad members and recruitment for next season, Boyd can provide some much-needed clarity.Though his primary focus will be on the upcoming Super Rugby season, he will work in the background to bring success to Saints.He will want to hit the ground running and, to do that, he must work with the existing Saints coaches and outline which men he wants to keep in the coming weeks and months.He will also have the chance to suggest new players to the board and his knowledge of his current surroundings will undoubtedly be key.Saints have secured the services of several Super Rugby players during recent times and they are likely to fit with Boyd's philosophy.That means there should be the kind of blend the new boss wants when he arrives in August.The Saints board was never shy of backing Mallinder with every possible penny of the salary cap.And that will not change when it comes to giving Boyd the ammunition he needs to bring success back to Northampton.He will be allowed to appoint coaches if he so wishes, though you would imagine he would like to keep one or two members of the existing staff to smooth his transition.It is a fascinating time.The start of a new era at Saints.And judging by everything that has been said about Boyd so far, a bright future appears to beckon for the black, green and gold.