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Aviva Premiership
Jim Mallinder agrees five-year extension at Saints
ESPN Staff
June 2, 2014
Jim Mallinder and Keith Barwell celebrate victory , Saracens v Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership final, Twickenham, May 31, 2014
Jim Mallinder and former Saints chairman Keith Barwell celebrate victory at Twickenham © Getty Images
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Jim Mallinder has signed a five-year extension with Northampton Saints, less than 36 hours after his side won the Aviva Premiership title.

Northampton chief executive Allan Robson hailed Mallinder as the "best director of rugby in the Aviva Premiership". He has guided the side to the Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup double this term, and Northampton have won five of nine cup finals since he took the reins in 2007.

Mallinder said his long-term deal reflected anticipated room for improvement. "This is a superb club and a brilliant job. There are not many positions like this in world rugby and I've loved every minute of being here.

"We've had a few ups and downs, but generally we've been on the up since being in the first division that first year. We're getting better and better - not just as a team and a squad, but as a club, and it's something I want to be a part of. I'm more motivated now than when I first came here. The challenges are huge. There are plenty of ambitious clubs in the Aviva Premiership and we want to be better than them."

Mallinder guided Northampton back to the Premiership from the Championship in his first year at the helm. They have reached the Premiership play-offs every year since 2010, finally scooping the title at Twickenham on Saturday.

Robson said Mallinder fully merited his prolonged new deal. "The last seven years have been massively exciting for everyone associated with the Saints, and I've got no doubt that the next five will see us go from strength to strength. Jim has firmly established himself as the best director of rugby in the Aviva Premiership - not just in putting together one of the most exciting and talented first teams, but in how he has shaped the entire playing department to ensure that there is a legacy of success that will last for years to come.

"Professional sport demands immediate results and success, however there also has to be a balance between focusing on the short term and building a sustainable club.

"Jim has achieved this, reaching nine finals and winning more trophies than any of his predecessors, but he has put the pieces in place to also produce some of the most talented young players in the country through our academy system and bring in world-class quality, too.

"It is an exciting mix, and we are delighted that Jim is staying on as director of rugby."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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