1. ITV Report

Northampton Saints 'won't make any rash decisions' in search to replace sacked Jim Mallinder

Jim Mallinder was sacked on Tuesday. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints Chief Executive Mark Darbon says the club won't make "any rash decisions" as they begin their search for a new Director of Rugby.

Jim Mallinder, who had been in charge at Franklin's Gardens for a decade, was sacked on Tuesday following a poor start to the season.

He leaves the Saints in 10th place in the Aviva Premiership and on the brink of elimination from the European Champions Cup having lost all of their group games so far.

"Unsurprisingly, we've already been linked with a number of fantastic coaches who are out there," Darbon told ITV News Anglia.

"We're not going to make any rash decisions. Clearly, this is about getting the right candidate for the future and we think this club has a huge amount to offer - brilliant facilities, great supporter base, a fantastic squad.

"So, we're looking for someone who's going to thrive in those conditions."

  • Who's been linked with the job?
Mike Ford (left), Stuart Lancaster (centre) and Pat Lam (right) have all be linked with the role. Credit: PA

Former Bath boss Mike Ford is the early favourite for the job, and would bring a wealth of Premiership experience if handed the reins.

The 52-year-old, who's the father of Leicester and England fly-half George, is currently working in America but could be available in the short-term at least, with his team the Dallas Griffins unable to enter the new Major League Rugby competition until 2019.

Ex-England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster is another who could be considered by the Saints board having revived his career as a coach at Irish club Leinster, while former player Pat Lam would be a popular choice among Saints supporters.

The 49-year-old has led current club Bristol to the top of the Greene King IPA Championship since taking over in the summer, but whether he would leave his post so soon after moving to the West Country remains to be seen.

Exeter coach and former Northampton fly-half Ali Hepher has also been mentioned but it may be hard for Saints to prize him way from Sandy Park midway through the season.