Lee Radford next move confirmed with code switch: ‘Moving from league into union is a massive challenge’

Josh McAllister
Lee Radford has completed a code switch to rugby union.

Lee Radford has completed a code switch to rugby union.

Northampton Saints have confirmed the addition of ex-Super League coach Lee Radford ahead of the 2023/24 season as an assistant.

The 44-year-old will focus on the team’s defence for the forthcoming Premiership campaign.

Radford left his position as Castleford’s head coach after just three rounds of the 2023 Super League season, resulting in defeats to Hull, St Helens and Wigan.

He coached Hull FC to back-to-back Challenge Cup triumphs in 2016 and 2017 at Wembley Stadium.

The two-time Super League Grand Final winner as a player most recently coached Samoa during last year’s delayed World Cup in England under boss Matt Parish, reaching their first-ever final.

Lee Radford on coaching switch

He said: “Speaking to Phil Dowson [director of rugby] and Sam [Vesty, head coach] gave me a really good feeling of what Northampton Saints are about, and also a great indication about their relationship as well, as you can tell there is a real closeness there in terms of how they work together.

“That was really appealing to me, as those relationships are so important within an elite rugby environment, and coming down to look around the Club just reaffirmed all the great things they said about the place, the people, and the infrastructure here.

“Saints places the youth structure and production of homegrown talent at the very heart of what they do, which really closely aligns to my experience during my coaching career so far as well.

“The brand of rugby Northampton already plays is really appealing and exciting to watch, but my job now is to add some stiffness and resilience where I can to this team, so we can really forge our own identity defensively and make some big improvements.

“Moving from league into union is a massive challenge, but a very exciting one.

“I still have a lot to learn about rugby union, but I’ve had some great conversations with the likes of Kevin Sinfield, Martin Gleeson, and Jamie Langley already about the game and how to best make that transition, so I can’t wait to get to work.”

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