"Rugby League Arrival" Northampton Saints Announce New Assistant Coach Lee Radford - Ruck

“Rugby League Arrival” Northampton Saints Announce New Assistant Coach Lee Radford

Northampton Saints have announced their newly appointed Assistant Coach, as Lee Radford will join the coaching staff ahead of the 2023/24 Premiership season.

The 44-year-old arrives at Franklin’s Gardens with a predominant focus on defence, and from a strong Rugby League background. This is Radford’s first coaching role in the Premiership, as he has previously taking the reigns of Castleford Tigers and Hull FC in the Super League, and the Dallas Jackals in Major League Rugby.


Radford found ground-breaking success with Hull, taking them on to win their first and second Challenge Cup titles, with back-to-back triumphs in 2016 and 2017. Radford departed Hull for a brief stint with the Dallas Jackals in 2020, marking his first rugby union coaching role as the side’s Defence Coach.

The former Rugby League forward made his cross-code return back to League, and joined up with Castleford Tigers in 2021. He remained with the Tigers until March 2023, where he departed in a mutual agreement with the club. Radford will bring his hard-hitting defensive structure to the Saints, in an exciting appointment by the East Midlands club.

A London Irish supporter during the Gallagher Premiership rugby match between London Irish and Northampton Saints at The Brentford Community Stadium, Brentford, London on March 25 2022. – PHOTO: James Fearn/PPAUK

The two-time Super League winner knows what it takes to lift a league title, as he achieved the honour in 2003 and 2005 with the Bradford Bulls. Speaking to the Northampton Saints official club website, Director of Rugby Phil Dowson is excited to add Radford to his coaching staff.

“From the very first meeting we had with Lee, Sam [Vesty] and I were impressed by the clarity of his philosophy, the simplicity of the principles that underpinned it, and his enthusiasm for the challenge,”

Phil Dowson, Director of Rugby of Northampton Saints during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Semi Final Match between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Stonex Stadium on 13 May 2023. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

“If you couple that with his experience as a coach at club and international level in rugby league, he brings some fantastic leadership skill and a new perspective on our game which we’re very excited about.

“Lee’s very ambitious, committed and driven to succeed, and we feel like he brings an edge to our group and will connect with the players really well.”

“He will have a lot to learn working in rugby union, coming into our set-up from a rugby league background, but clearly there is a great heritage of coaches who have made that transition very successfully. He will look at things through a different lens and we hope we can make some significant improvements based on those ideas.”

Radford was also appointed defence coach of the Samoan national team, for the Rugby League World Cup last year, helping the Pacific Islanders reach the final where they were eventually beaten by Australia.

Radford said: “Speaking to Phil and Sam 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.

“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.”