Pountney departs Franklin’s Gardens

Northampton Saints director of rugby Budge Pountney has left Franklin’s Gardens six months ahead of schedule.

Pountney had indicated in September he would step down from his post at the end of the season but he has departed early in order to set up a new business with his wife, Ali.

“Northampton have been a huge and fantastic part of mine and my family’s lives,” said the former Scotland skipper.

“It has been an honour to have been a part of a club with many magical memories and some proud wins, not least lifting the Heineken Cup in 2000.

“I had intended to depart in the summer but after consideration, I thought it best to ensure a quick and seamless transition for the club.

“I was also keen for my family to embark on this new and exciting chapter in our lives as soon as possible.”

Pountney worked his way up through Saints’ academy from the age of 18 before making his professional debut against Coventry in 1994. He played 215 games for Saints, scoring 46 tries.

He was captain for three seasons and played 31 games for Scotland between 1998 and 2002, six of which he was also captain.

Pountney became the club’s director of rugby at the start of last season, leaving Paul Grayson to become head coach.

“Budge has served the club extremely well throughout his career and everyone here is sorry to see him go,” said Saints chief executive Allan Robson.

“With plans well in hand for his departure, the club has decided to permit Budge to leave early to enable him to concentrate in putting his own business plans in place.

“I know all Saints supporters will join us in thanking Budge for the massive contribution he has made to the club during the past 15 loyal years.”

Pountney will now go into business teaching babies how to swim. Saints lie in eleventh place of the Guinness Premiership

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