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England Women’s forwards coach Matt Ferguson is to join Northampton Saints from the 2018/19 season as assistant coach.
Since Ferguson’s appointment in May 2015 he has headed up the forwards division for the England Women’s team in which time has seen the side top the world rankings, reach last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup final, as well as beat New Zealand on their own soil in Rotorua.
After initially working with the Red Roses as a forwards coach from 2009 to 2011, Ferguson moved on to stints in the men’s game at Cardiff Blues, Bristol Rugby and London Welsh before returning to Twickenham in 2015 to sculpt a dominant set piece and driving maul for England’s women.
The 39-year-old has also spent the last 12 months working as a scrum consultant with London Irish.
"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at London Irish this season and with England Women over the past three years," said Ferguson."This is a really exciting opportunity for me to work for one of the biggest clubs in English rugby."
"While I will be sad to leave such great groups of players and management, this is a really exciting opportunity for me to work for one of the biggest clubs in English rugby and learn from one of the most well-respected coaches in the world in Chris Boyd.
“I’m honoured to be given the chance here, and I’m really looking forward to teaming up with such a talented group of players already at Saints.”
Saints director of rugby Boyd says Ferguson's experience makes him the standout candidate.
“I was not only impressed by his experience but also his superb attitude and meticulous level of preparation – I am sure he will be a great fit here," said Boyd.
A replacement for Ferguson in the England Women’s coaching team is expected be announced in due course and RFU head of performance (Women) Nicola Ponsford paid tribute to Ferguson.
“Matt is a talented and experienced coach and has served the Red Roses well over the past three years," said Ponsford.
"He has played an important part in the further development of the women’s programme in England. This appointment is testament to Matt’s quality and ability as a coach and we wish him all the best in his new role.”