The 2018/19 European Rugby Challenge Cup features some newcomers in the team hot seats who will be looking to guide their sides all the way to the trophy. We begin with Northampton Saints’ director of rugby, Chris Boyd.
Where is he from?
The 59-year-old New Zealander joins Northampton from Hurricanes, but will stay with the Kiwi side until the end of their involvement in the Super Rugby season, despite his Saints appointment being announced in January.
He replaces interim boss Alan Gaffney, who took charge at Franklin’s Gardens last December after Jim Mallinder’s departure.
What was his previous coaching experience?
Boyd began his coaching career with Wellington in 2003, spending three years there as assistant coach – a position he also held at the Sharks’ Super Rugby franchise in South Africa in 2009 and 2010.
In 2011 he was Tonga’s assistant coach at the World Cup and the same year he returned to Wellington as head coach.
During his three years in charge of Wellington he also coached New Zealand U20s and then got his Super Rugby break with Hurricanes in 2015, guiding them to their first championship title in 2016.
💬 "Winning is really important, but I also want everyone to come to Franklin's Gardens and enjoy the spectacle and know that the boys are giving it everything."#TuesdayThoughts pic.twitter.com/oAFC9zZIqQ
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) July 3, 2018
Who is in his coaching team?
Boyd’s coaching team includes two past Challenge Cup winners in Alan Dickens (defence) and Phil Dowson (forwards).
In fact, Dickens is a two-time winner – with Sale Sharks in 2002 and Northampton in 2009 – making a total of 33 European appearances in nine seasons for those two clubs, Leeds Tykes and Saracens.
Dowson also won the Challenge Cup with Saints, in 2014, when he scored a try in their 30-16 final win over Bath Rugby. The former England back-row forward made 68 European appearances for Northampton and Newcastle Falcons in 12 seasons, scoring 13 tries.
Sam Vesty (backs/attack) completes the coaching team and he also has European pedigree, having played 47 games in the European and Challenge Cups in 11 campaigns for Leicester Tigers and Bath.
What does he think of his appointment?
Speaking to the official Northampton website, Boyd said: “Northampton Saints is a club I have admired all of my coaching career. The club’s ambitions match my own. I am confident I can help the Saints become one of the biggest and best teams in Europe.
“I said when I took this role that I wanted a young English coaching group and I’m pleased to have assembled one which is highly motivated and ambitious.”