Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder signs new contract

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has signed a new contract with the club to extend his stay at Franklin's Gardens until 2015.

Mallinder has won four trophies in his five-year spell in charge and reached the final of the Heineken Cup in 2011.

"It wasn't a hard decision. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Saints," he told BBC Look East.

"Of course we're disappointed over the last couple of years we couldn't win something major."

He added: "But I think we've developed both on and off the pitch. The future's very exciting."

Saints suffered heartbreak last weekend as they

It was the third consecutive season that Mallinder's men had fallen one step short of the Twickenham final.

"I don't think I've quite got over it. I'm still waking up early and thinking 'what if'," he said.

"The important thing is that we learn from it and take the positives out of it. I'm very confident we can move forward."

Mallinder took charge of the Saints in June 2007 when the club had just been relegated from the Premiership.

However, they made an immediate return to the top flight by remaining unbeaten in 2007-08.

More success quickly followed as they won the European Challenge Cup in 2008-09 and the Anglo-Welsh Cup the following season.

In 2010-11, Mallinder took the team to the Heineken Cup final, although the Saints lost a thrilling match against Leinster.

"You cannot overstate how important he has been to the rejuvenation of the team," said Saints chairman Leon Barwell.

"Jim signing his new contract is terrific news for the club and underpins our aspirations for the future.

"As we see so often in sports across the world, having continuity of management is crucial in a club's long-term success, and this is exactly what Jim brings to the Saints.

"He is a first-class coach, one of the best in England and a terrific guy to have at the club."