Search for new forwards coach has started as Saints seek to finalise 'really exciting' setup

Dorian West will leave Saints at the end of the season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Dorian West will leave Saints at the end of the season (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Saints CEO Mark Darbon says it is important that the good work Dorian West has done is remembered after the forwards coach's summer exit was confirmed.

West will leave Franklin's Gardens at the conclusion of the campaign, bringing an 11-year association with Northampton to an end.

The former Leicester Tigers and England hooker was a long-time sidekick of Jim Mallinder, who was dismissed as director of rugby in December.

Together, Mallinder and West masterminded some of the most successful times in Saints' history after helping the club return to England's top flight in 2008.

Saints won their first Premiership title in 2014 and also claimed two Challenge Cups and an Anglo-Welsh Cup.

West helped to build the most formidable forward pack in Europe during Saints' incredible run to the Heineken Cup final in 2011, when Leinster snatched glory in Cardiff.

And though the coach will be departing when new boss Chris Boyd arrives this summer, Darbon insists West's contribution to Saints should never be forgotten.

"As part of this change we're going through, we want to make sure we're comfortable with the coaching setup as we go into next season," Darbon said.

"Chris is ultimately making those decisions on the coaching side.

"He's had some brilliant conversations with Dorian, and Dorian is a top-class coach.

"Similar to Jim, he has been an absolutely essential part in delivering the success the club has had. It's really important people remember that and are appreciative of that.

"At the same time, we felt that a change was needed and so we're going to look at an alternative forwards coach for next season.

"Dorian leaves with our thanks and best wishes because he's been brilliant for this club."

Boyd, who will join Saints following the conclusion of his commitments with Super Rugby side the Hurricanes this summer, has already drafted in Worcester's Sam Vesty as attack coach.

And Saints are now on the look-out for a top-class coach to fill the void left by West.

"It (the search) is at an early stage because Chris wanted to take some time with Dorian when he was over recently," Darbon said.

"We're working through the finalisation of our coaching structure and we'd expect to announce some news on that in the coming weeks.

"We're not there yet, we're going through that process at the moment, but I think we're going to end up with a really exciting coaching team.

"We're delighted with the announcement of Sam Vesty coming in because he's going to add some new thoughts and processes and approaches to that group.

"We're going to get to a good place, but we've got a bit of work to do to finalise things."