Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

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Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by TightHEAD on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 20:14

I think what he achieved for Saints over the years he deserved to see out the season.


Rugby is not Football, we have true meaningful values based on respect that are the heart of every club (even Welsh ones!)
Yes Saints have been poor, but the players are the ones who cross the whitewash and ultimately it is up to them whether you win or lose.
I don't disagree Saints probably needed to move on from him but sacking him mid season is poor form imho.


We must never go down the route Football has chosen whereby players can get managers and coaches sacked just because they disagree with tactics or what colour car the manager is driving that week or he is wearing the wrong designer gear.
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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 20:17

Last summer IMO. From what I've heard we could have had Ackermann. Done great things for our club but we've been in decline since January 2015.

Heard too many negative anecdotes about West too. Says it all that Dickens was made head coach but want to see him go.

Unfortunately we've already committed to an expensive marquee signing I don't agree with.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 20:24

Had to go, surprised to see him last out the Summer tbh.

Is the marquee signing Brussow Scott?

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 20:27

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Had to go, surprised to see him last out the Summer tbh.

Is the marquee signing Brussow Scott?
Biggar. Brussow is potentially a very good signing.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 21:57

Scottrf wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Had to go, surprised to see him last out the Summer tbh.

Is the marquee signing Brussow Scott?
Biggar. Brussow is potentially a very good signing.

I'd have thought the reverse applies. Brussow is a good player but not what you need. You need some additional carrying impetus in the backrow and ideally someone who can offload and bring your other forwards into the game around them. A nuggety openside is a good acquisition but Wood and Gibson are already at the club, Harrison is pretty good at the breakdown as well.

Biggar should give you the direction and leadership you've been lacking at 10 for the last couple of years. Saints have dying for an international level outhalf and he will keep the scoreboard ticking with his kicking.

Agree that Ackermann last summer was the one that got away. Former Saint that likes a big aggressive pack but also a high tempo hard carrying game. Sounded like a ready made coach for either East Midlands side but both passed and now he's revolutionised Gloucester even without a preseason.

Rumours are suggesting Lancaster or Farrell Snr. Saints should have pulled the trigger last summer, they've dragged this out too long and now a good chunk of next seasons recruitment has already happened. Not much say for a new DOR wanting to shape his squad.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 22:01

Have you seen our breakdown recently? We have one turnover from a ruck this season, from Ludlam. Newcastle killed us. Agree with have too many there but the wrong type (until Ludlum is playing regularly) Wood has never been about that, Harrison should but doesn't and his form has dropped (plus he seems to play better at 8), and Gibson is a different player, lightweight in comparison.

We have a FH who will be unavailable during international periods in Francis, we don't need another. And we definitely don't need to be spending marquee money on one with a failing scrum.


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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 22:03

I think Bigger and Brussow are fantastic signings. Agree with Sam that you could do with a big carrying option too thrown in, you're desperate for an 8.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 22:09

One of my pals is a Saints season ticket holder and he said the story down there is that all the players have actually fallen out with Dorian West...and it was Mallinder who was holding it together.

I genuinely hope the stories of West coming up here in the Summer are not true!

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Wed 13 Dec 2017 - 22:11

Loads of stories like that. Hartley going to the board and saying the coaching is out of date, Matfield the same and also that he wasn't allowed to assist with coaching the youngsters etc.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 0:53

Hello boys.  Been off the boards for a while because, well, no good reason, but life does throw a spanner from time to time, eh?

Nothing to bring me back like a catharsis (like how I sound intelligent and cultured by using a big boy word?) at my club.  Agree Jim Mallinder should have been let go at the end of last season.  Really not fair to him or the club to do it now.  He was great for the club for a long time, but it is unusual for any coach/DOR to stay for 10 seasons at any club in any sport.  Sometimes in sport the run is played out and we all need to move on.  I think he had made decent signings recently, but not the right ones.  I hope Jimmy lands well and can start again.  If he goes to Worcester, for example, I think he will do fine.

I hear the rumour mill is already kicking out retread names like Mike Ford (thank you, but no), Lancaster (no thank you), and Farrell (this is 2017, not 1997).  Hopefully the club takes its time rather than hurry through the process.  

The club needs a good personnel evaluator.  Saints have a lot of decent players, and some real good ones.  But the team frequently seems like a group of misfit toys.  Decent players playing out of their best position, or players who have not evolved with the game.  Look at the props, for instance.  competitive scrummagers, but no one who offers much else around the park.  In the back row, also good players, but no one who can beast the breakdown.  Harrison has a good all around game and shows glimpses, but seems underpowered at the rucks.  In the backs, when Saints play Burrell it is more of a direct straight ahead game.  But then the other 12s are distributors.  So the style of play changes dramatically from game to game, and consequently neither seems terribly effective.  I could go on.

In conclusion, had to happen, but I hope Mallinder lands well, and Saints take their time and get the right dude. Then the right players. Thoughts, mates?

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 1:30

doctor_grey wrote:Thoughts, mates?

Glad to see you back, even if just for a bit. Hope the spanner was not too painful.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by TrailApe on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 2:11

Hope the spanner was not too painful.

spanners are used on nuts aren't they - painful.

From an outsiders point of view it's sad to see such a good servant of a club go, but the club is bigger than any one individual and sometimes a blood sacrifice is called for when hard times come rollin' in.

Do the RFU run refresher sessions for our stock of premiership coaching teams?

If not it might be a good idea.

Succession planning for the Top Job and all that.
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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by beshocked on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 4:11

Should have been done sooner but it will all be for nothing if they replace Mallinder with someone like Farrell Sr or Ford Sr.

As for Mallinder, I think moving to Worcester could be good for him and Worcester if it happens.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 4:33

TrailApe wrote:
Hope the spanner was not too painful.

spanners are used on nuts aren't they - painful.
Yes, indeed. Especially on my nuts. All is good now and I can focus on the important things: Saints!

TrailApe wrote:Do the RFU run refresher sessions for our stock of premiership coaching teams?

If not it might be a good idea.

Succession planning for the Top Job and all that.
This is a great question. There doesn't seem to be any succession planning worthy of the name, but I really don't know. Would be great to find out. It always seems the kiwis are always moving their coaches around and they seem able to replace the head guy if needed with an equally competent guy at almost any time. And these guys all seem to have cut their teeth in France or Ireland or UK.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 5:05

Good to see you back Doc.

Agree that Mallinder should have gone last season, makes you ask questions of the boards capability as everybody else saw it.

The squad is a disjointed mess of good players, some great players the sum of the whole is not as good as the sum of the individuals, mainly due to the players brought in not matching the style of play which varies day to day.

Has Biggar got a similar deal to North regarding release? If so why have we recruited 2 FH that will both be gone for half the season subject to Welsh selection policy. We need a Picamolesie type 8 or other big carrier in the pack, that should always have been our priority, not 10s who are likely to be missing for long periods. One 10 yes, but not two.

Mallinder has been unlucky with injuries, the last game was especially unfortunate with both 10s getting injured early on. locks and back row have also suffered; not blooding sufficient academy players to cover injuries is solely Mallinder's fault.

Look at all the foreign NEQ players we have brought in over the last couple of years, most only get a game as injury cover whilst our academy players go nowhere.

He has been a great servant of Saints, but the time for pasturing was overdue. The delay has resulted in Saints being left rudderless in a dangerous position for the rest of the season at least and the board must take responsibility for that.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 5:38

I agree the 10 role is getting a bit bizarre.  Next season Biggar will likely play about 12 Premiership games for the club.  Presumably Francis will play the same, maybe one or two more.  So the question is where does Francis play when Biggar is in the squad?  And what about Myler?  Will he be the International Window stand off for Saints?  Francis won't be starting for England at either 10 or 12.  But his defense is very good and he does seem to have a great motor.  So England might keep him around.  

By the way, I saw this and thought it ironic (from a BBC article).  Jim Mallinder speaking about the Biggar signing:

"We're delighted to have secured the signature of such a highly rated player,"
"The fact that he has put pen to paper a year in advance shows that Dan has plenty of belief in where we are going as a club and our ambitions for the future."

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by HongKongCherry on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 6:11

I forget which one of the podcasts suggested Mallinder built his success on knowing the talented players from his England U20s days, but it is hard to argue against that notion. The style of play really hasn't progressed and once the pack lost some of the fearsome players, notably Monoa they became rather one dimensional. Picamoles put a gloss on last season and without him Glaws would have won 2 more games and perhaps Fisher wouldn't have left... But the failure to replace a ball carrier was a huge mistake, as was being reliant on West's outdated way of scrummaging.

There are some good players at Saints and with a but more direction I'm sure they'll return to being one of the top teams. Biggar will definitely help but they need better props and an 8.
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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 6:37

HongKongCherry wrote:I forget which one of the podcasts suggested Mallinder built his success on knowing the talented players from his England U20s days, but it is hard to argue against that notion. The style of play really hasn't progressed and once the pack lost some of the fearsome players, notably Monoa they became rather one dimensional. Picamoles put a gloss on last season and without him Glaws would have won 2 more games and perhaps Fisher wouldn't have left... But the failure to replace a ball carrier was a huge mistake, as was being reliant on West's outdated way of scrummaging.

There are some good players at Saints and with a but more direction I'm sure they'll return to being one of the top teams. Biggar will definitely help but they need better props and an 8.
Agree 100%.

On the plus side Saints still have our England captain. It does seem Eddie Jones is doing what he can to keep him from getting broken. Saints really need him for the rest of the season.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 7:01

Myler is broken. Not sure he is a part of future plans.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 8:02

Which means with Mallinder jnr. As either 12 or 15, we are relying on Greystone or a broken Myler in the Intended. Windows. Great planning!

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 8:36

That a good point about succession planning. When Tigers needed a DOR we hired a firm to scour the world for options. What the board had been playing at I don't know, seems they weren't the only ones slacking. How can clubs not keep a list of coaches, DORs and players that they monitor in case of need and to be certain they are of the right character to fit in?

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by GeordieFalcon on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 9:36

Funnily the falcons are doing alot of succesion planning if you want to call it that.

All the coaches take turns as head coaches during the Anglo Welsh and the European Games. Been doing that for a good few seasons now.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Welly on Thu 14 Dec 2017 - 9:40

GeordieFalcon wrote:Funnily the falcons are doing alot of succesion planning if you want to call it that.  

All the coaches take turns as head coaches during the Anglo Welsh and the European Games. Been doing that for a good few seasons now.

Pretty much all the prem clubs have different head coaches for the AWC games.

Tigers have Brett Deacon and Geordan Murphy as head coaches in the AWC.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Sun 17 Dec 2017 - 1:47

Scottrf wrote:Myler is broken. Not sure he is a part of future plans.
I think Saints broke Myler. Through years of trying to bring in a superior replacement, he was always better than the superior replacement, and consequently played far too much Rugby. We could see it happening, and I think we all discussed it, too.

In hindsight, this was a clear example of the club not evaluating talent properly. Consistently. And that has real meaning considering the current situation of the club.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Sun 17 Dec 2017 - 20:42

I just saw on ESPN a list of their top 4 candidates to replace Jim Mallinder. I am not really impressed as it seems all are retreads of one kind or another.

Mike Ford - they indicate he might be a replacement just until the end of the season. I would be OK with that, but I really don't see him as a long term solution.

Stuart Lancaster - This doesn't make any sense because Hartley is at the club. Yes, he would help get the fundamentals right which they need, but I don't think he would take the club to championship levels.

Heyneke Meyer - Old and done, though a bright Rugby guy.

Dean Richards - This would be a struggle. I simply can't get past the blood capsule thing. Not just because it was unethical (at the minimum), but because it was stupid.

Not sure who we look to hire, though Jake White would be great for the few seasons we would have him. It's a shame pat Lam is contracted to Bristol.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by SecretFly on Sun 17 Dec 2017 - 21:02

Well doc, Lancaster does help coach a side that has just beaten the current Premiership Champs (and current top team of the AP League again this year) across two games, back to back, using mostly the same starters unlike Exeter who got some fresh legs in there, home and away.... with two ten minute stints of being down to 14 men in the first half of the latter game.

Lancaster gotta have something of a Championship pedigree in him? No?
Leinster don't choose dud coaches.... well..... Cheika is letting us down so far but maybe the thick basterde will now go ahead and win the next WC! Shocked


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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Sun 17 Dec 2017 - 21:19

I'd be very surprised if Richards went to Saints. Firstly, it's Saints and secondly, Falcons are finally starting to come through.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by eirebilly on Sun 17 Dec 2017 - 21:27

I think that Geordan Murphy would be very good for the Saints.
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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by yappysnap on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 7:47

Jake White if you want you're team to become a SA franchise and to watch the dressing room and supporters get alienated off field while on field the tactics go back to '07

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by yappysnap on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 7:48

After the next SR season Ronan O'Gara could be a catch for many clubs

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by SecretFly on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 8:10

I love the way Jake White is always mentioned when a new position in any part of the world opens up.

This has been doing the rounds now for the best part of 20 years. "Jake White is available".

"Theresa May is in trouble!"

"That's no hassle. Jake White is only a phone call away."

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 9:32

yappysnap wrote:Jake White if you want you're team to become a SA franchise and to watch the dressing room and supporters get alienated off field while on field the tactics go back to '07
Back to 07? 07 looks far more advanced than the amateur stuff we are playing at the moment.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 12:06

Yeah Saints must be pretty bad to be losing like that to Ospreys twice, although this season the 'one true region' have been pretty good in this competition. It's the league they've been p*/s poor in. Remember Ospreys got two bonus points from Sarries, if they beat them at home and get something away to Clermont then they're in an okay position. A much better position than we all predicted.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by LordDowlais on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 23:30

Apparently, Warren Gatland is the main target for Northampton.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by marty2086 on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 23:33

LordDowlais wrote:Apparently, Warren Gatland is the main target for Northampton.

Makes no sense given his circumstances, his family is the other side of the world and he has only this week stated he wants to coach in Super Rugby

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 23:35

Reported only in WOL. Hoping to get rid of him before the World Cup?

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by eirebilly on Mon 18 Dec 2017 - 23:48

yappysnap wrote:After the next SR season Ronan O'Gara could be a catch for many clubs

Nah, ROG is earmarked to return to Munster thumbsup
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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 5:54

LordDowlais wrote:Apparently, Warren Gatland is the main target for Northampton.

laughing laughing laughing

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 7:14

eirebilly wrote:
yappysnap wrote:After the next SR season Ronan O'Gara could be a catch for many clubs

Nah, ROG is earmarked to return to Munster thumbsup
.............as defense coach? drumroll

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by SecretFly on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 9:38

marty2086 wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Apparently, Warren Gatland is the main target for Northampton.

Makes no sense given his circumstances, his family is the other side of the world and he has only this week stated he wants to coach in Super Rugby

Is Warren finally hinting that he may have done enough with Wales... even before the next WC arrives? Has he one of ye olde 'clauses' in his Santy... *cough* - I mean contract?

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by marty2086 on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:02

SecretFly wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Apparently, Warren Gatland is the main target for Northampton.

Makes no sense given his circumstances, his family is the other side of the world and he has only this week stated he wants to coach in Super Rugby

Is Warren finally hinting that he may have done enough with Wales... even before the next WC arrives?  Has he one of ye olde 'clauses' in his Santy... *cough* - I mean contract?

Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:23

marty2086 wrote:Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

Being an Ireland fan you'd know all about that.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by marty2086 on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:32

Scottrf wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

Being an Ireland fan you'd know all about that.

Why would I know about that as an Ireland fan? It actually doesn't make sense

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Scottrf on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:33

marty2086 wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

Being an Ireland fan you'd know all about that.

Why would I know about that as an Ireland fan? It actually doesn't make sense

Leaving the world cup after the quarters? You really don't get it? Very slow.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by marty2086 on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:34

Scottrf wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
Scottrf wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

Being an Ireland fan you'd know all about that.

Why would I know about that as an Ireland fan? It actually doesn't make sense

Leaving the world cup after the quarters? You really don't get it? Very slow.

Why? Schmidt hasn't said he'll be leaving after the RWC so.....

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by eirebilly on Tue 19 Dec 2017 - 21:37

Scottrf wrote:
marty2086 wrote:Can't be 100% but has he not made it public he'll be leaving after the RWC QFs? Whistle

Being an Ireland fan you'd know all about that.

Harsh but true, ye bollix boxing



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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by yappysnap on Thu 21 Dec 2017 - 15:44




Home / Featured / The reasons behind Jim Mallinder’s sacking at Northampton Saints
The reasons behind Jim Mallinder’s sacking at Northampton Saints
Posted on December 20, 2017 by admin in Featured, Features with 1 Comment

By Nick Cain

If you want to know what has gone so wrong at Northampton that it led to Jim Mallinder being sacked last week, there is a cameo that offers an explanation. It involves Victor Matfield, one of the greatest lineout forwards the game has known, a 2007 Springbok World Cup winner who was a master of his art.

Matfield spent the 2015-16 season with the Saints, and although the South African lock was in the twilight of his career at 37, the depth of knowledge he had at his fingertips after winning 127 caps for his country would be seen as invaluable by most ambitious clubs.

However, when Matfield suggested making some changes to the lineout to one of Mallinder’s coaching staff he was summarily dismissed. A well-respected former player at Franklin’s Gardens takes up the story.

“He was told, ‘look mate, you just hit rucks and mauls and leave it at that’. He was clearly frustrated and said to me that in some areas the club was rotten.”

That blinkered, closed-shop mentality is at variance with the picture that emerged this week of Mallinder. Despite the disastrous nine-match losing run that lost him his job – with the final straw coming in the home European Cup loss to the Ospreys last Saturday– ‘Gentleman Jim’ was almost universally liked by Saints fans and players.

The same was true of the members of the Northampton board who made the decision to part with a director of rugby whose ten-year tenure at Franklin’s Gardens made him the longest-serving head coach in the Premiership.

Among them is Keith Barwell, the millionaire businessman whose investment and hands-on involvement has underpinned the club in the professional era, and who was also instrumental in signing Mallinder.

Speaking exclusively to The Rugby Paper, Barwell makes clear the turmoil involved in putting hard-headed, pragmatic decisions ahead of his, and his family’s, affection for Mallinder.

“It was heartbreaking. My wife cried, and I shed a tear. I brought Jim Mallinder here, and he’s won more trophies than any other Northampton coach – more than Wayne Smith and Ian McGeechan – and he’s such a nice bloke, too.

“No-one ever wrote to me and said he was a liability – but it needed freshening up. Last season we got out of jail, qualifying for Europe through the play-offs against Stade Francais. After the defeat at the weekend one of the directors said to me, ‘Jim looks a broken man’.

“You don’t make these decisions without taking soundings from Dylan Hartley and other senior players like Tom Wood. I went to Dylan’s testimonial dinner on Wednesday night, and they are pros and understand that these things happen – and Jim Mallinder is a pro in the same way, because during his time at the club he also had to let players and coaches go.”

Barwell says that whereas the suggestion that Mallinder had lost the support of his squad is mistaken, his unwillingness to compromise when it came to restructuring his coaching team was more problematic.

Barwell revealed: “We wanted to bring in someone to assist Jim, but that was a stumbling block – he was not happy with it…”


Ousted: Victor Matfield left Northampton in the summer of 2016 (photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

At the heart of the impasse was Mallinder’s loyalty to Dorian West, his forwards coach and right-hand man. When Mallinder and West arrived at Northampton in 2008 they were billed as a rugby version of the Brian Clough-Peter Taylor duo that transformed the football fortunes of Derby County and Nottingham Forest so spectacularly.

That comparison was reinforced when they took the Saints to the 2011 European Cup final, despite eventually losing 33-22 after blowing a commanding lead and being overhauled by Leinster.

Northampton refused to be denied a big prize, and after defeat in the 2013 Premiership final, Mallinder’s men reached the final again the following season to become English champions for the first time after beating Saracens 24-20 in an extra-time epic.

In the aftermath hopes of a successful Saints dynasty took root – but that optimism has been dashed over the last three years with Northampton out of the running for the big prizes in Europe and the Premiership.

When they dropped to tenth in the league table after defeat at home by Newcastle earlier this month, and had also lost their first two European Cup pool matches, the Mallinder-West ticket was looking frayed at the edges.

Lennie Newman, the former Saints forward and team manager who now works as a rugby commentator for BBC Radio Northampton, says that the main question being asked on fans forums is whether West is right to stay.

“I’m amazed that because Jim and Dorian came together, they did not leave together. There is also a strong suggestion that when the board wanted someone to come in alongside Jim, and for other coaches to go, Jim said, ‘no, I’ll go’. Loyalty to people was his downfall.”

Barwell says that the other non-negotiable element was results. “We sell a hell of a lot of season tickets, which we need to do for next season, and the fans are very concerned. It’s no different from any other pro-sport. The fans think you’re not listening, and after eight or nine games without a win you ignore them at your peril.

“Jim pointed out that if we had won the Worcester and Newcastle games we would have been in the top four in the Premiership – but we didn’t win them, and when that didn’t happen the board had to decide, because doing nothing was not an option. You can’t keep telling the fans, sponsors, and players, ‘mañana, mañana’.”

Newman agrees with Barwell that Mallinder never lost the support of the dressing room, but says he and his players lost direction, focus, and, worst of all, commitment.

“There is an old saying that what you see on the pitch mirrors what is going on off it. What results like the 37-5 away European Cup quarter-final defeat by Clermont in 2015 indicated was a soft underbelly of a culture. That was a capitulation, and that’s been happening for the last three seasons. We’ve been smashed by Saracens twice this season, once at home, and the same happened last season against Leinster in Europe, including a great team performance by them to demolish Saints at Franklin’s Gardens (37-10).”

He adds that a sense of energy and togetherness seemed to have vanished from the Saints squad in recent seasons. “The squad is devoid of any enjoyment. God knows when the last time was that they went out together on a social. I guess what’s exciting is that they are so low confidence-wise that now things can only go up.”


Capable: Former Northampton backs coach Alex King now coaches at Clermont Auvergne (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Newman believes there was also a serious communications problem, both internal and external, reflected in losing a talented backs coach like Alex King, as well as in worsening media relations.

“It became very insular. Jim started to come out with stereotypical responses (to media questions), and surrounded himself with yes-men. In top professional sport you need people who challenge you, which was what happened when Wayne Smith was at the club. However, over the last two or three years the door was always shut, so when Alex King challenged the system and wanted to change things, he found he was blocked.”

Barwell agrees that Press relations were an issue, and says he encouraged Mallinder to be more pro-active: “I said to him you have to talk to the Press to get a positive message about the club out there.”

However, it is Saints supporters who have been the main catalyst for change. Newman observes that although Northampton are not in a precarious financial position they are very keen to get back into the black, having made a loss last season and with another expected this.

He says a half-full Franklin’s Gardens for the Ospreys match, plus an exodus from the ground in the final quarter was an unmissable message to the Northampton board.

“Northampton is a massive rugby town and the fans vote through their seats and feet. They will not sit and watch indefinitely if it’s not as it should be, and last Saturday night they walked.

“The crowd for the Ospreys match was said to be 8,000, but to me it was more like 7,000 because many season-ticket holders watched it at home.

“The board did what they had to. We interviewed Jim after the game, and if he was broken at Worcester, and empty at Newcastle, after the Ospreys he had nowhere to go. He had asked the players for physicality, and to win the collisions, and when they did neither I asked him what he could do. He said, ‘I don’t know the answer’. You could see it in his eyes, and you just wanted to give him a cuddle.”

What might have given Mallinder a lift was the metaphorical bear-hug he received from Hartley during his testimonial bash at Silverstone.

The deposed director of rugby did not attend because he felt it might be a distraction on his former captain’s big night, but Hartley did not forget the man who backed him despite a disciplinary record that would not have been out of place in the Dark Ages.

During his speech, England captain Hartley said of the honours he’s won for his country and Northampton: “These would not have been possible without the support of Jim Mallinder. Jim backed me all the way.”

That the Northampton board did not feel it could extend the same backing to Mallinder has not come as a bolt from the blue to many Saints supporters.

yappysnap

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Fri 29 Dec 2017 - 23:27

Alan Gaffney?
I think this is a great hire to get Saints through the season.  Great experience and hopefully with the management expertise to set in place a new foundation for a permanent coach to build from.  His experience in Ireland should be a huge help, being in successful organizations and seeing the Premiership from a different perspective .  

I am also happy Saints did not pick from the many of the usual candidates mentioned when high profile coaching vacancies open up.  Surprisingly out of the box.    

As they say over here:  Saints done good.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Sat 30 Dec 2017 - 4:10

That's rather sad reading Yappy.

Saints have certainly lost their way over the years and have become a banker 8 points for the mighty Falcons....says it all really.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

Post by doctor_grey on Sun 31 Dec 2017 - 2:12

Agree that article is damning. Most of that has leaked out over the past few seasons, especially not taking advantage of the experience and leadership Victor Matfield brought to the club and the increasing closed door to outside suggestions and criticism. As said before, a real shame because Jim brought great Rugby back to Northampton and should always be remembered fondly.

Really wonder how Saints will come out today:
Fire and creativity?
Or simply going through the motions until Gaffney shows up? Still not in love with the lineup which has a true centre (Mallinder) at fullback, two fullbacks (Tuala, Foden) on the wings, and a player better at 12 playing stand off. Francis puts in a huge effort as a ball carrier and defender. I would rather start Myler at 10 with Francis at 12 and see how it goes. When Stevie runs out of juice, it would be OK to move in Mallinder or Francis.

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Re: Jim Mallinder - You're Fired!

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