Northampton Saints appoint Alan Gaffney as coaching consultant

Alan Gaffney had been part of the elite coaching set up in Australia and has experience of coaching in Europe with Leinster, Munster, Saracens and Ireland. Lynne Cameron/PA Images via Getty Images

Northampton Saints have appointed Australian coach Alan Gaffney as a technical coaching consultant until the end of the season.

Alan Dickens had been in temporary charge of the club following Jim Mallinder's sacking as director of rugby earlier this month, but Gaffney will now take the reins from Jan. 1.

Gaffney, 70, will work with the existing coaching staff of Dickens, Dorian West, Phil Dowson and assistant coach Mark Hopley.

Mike Ford had been heavily linked with the Franklin's Gardens hot seat, but Saints have instead turned to the former Munster, Leinster, Saracens and Ireland coach.

"We are delighted to have recruited Alan as our technical coaching consultant until the end of the season," Northampton Saints CEO Mark Darbon said.

"Alan is hugely experienced and admired throughout the game for being a forward thinking, innovative rugby coach. His CV speaks for itself; he has been successful with some of the best teams in the world -- including winning a Six Nations Grand Slam and Heineken Cup -- and has a clear understanding of how to set-up an effective all-around rugby team. He also has a proven track record of developing some of the world's best coaches and players.

"Alan will take on responsibility for the rugby department and will lead the existing coaching group made up of Alan Dickens, Dorian West, Mark Hopley and Phil Dowson.

"In parallel, the board will continue to focus on the recruitment of a permanent director of rugby to be in place for the start of the 2018-19 season. As I have said previously, there has been a great deal of interest in this vacancy and we hope to be able to announce this appointment in the coming months."