England international commits to Saints
TRANSFER NEWS: Northampton Saints confirmed that back-row Tom Wood has signed a new deal with the Club.
The 32-year-old pulled on the famous Black, Green and Gold jersey for the 180th time in Saturday’s resounding victory over Sale Sharks, and is now set to press on towards a double-century of Saints appearances after putting pen to paper on a contract extension.
Now in his ninth year at Franklin’s Gardens, Wood initially joined the Club in 2010 from Worcester Warriors and was named Premiership Player of the Season in his debut campaign.
But the best was yet to come as Wood skippered Northampton to a Premiership and European Challenge Cup double success in 2013-14, scoring the decisive try in the league semi-finals against Leicester Tigers to etch his name permanently into Saints folklore.
Wood, a bona fide Club legend, will now remain at the Gardens for at least the 2019/20 season and he is hoping to help thrust the side back into contention for major honours.
“I’ve made it clear from the beginning that it was always my first choice to stay here with Northampton Saints, so the decision for me was a straightforward one,” he said.
“I feel as fit as ever and I believe we are on the right track towards success under the guidance of Chris Boyd and our other coaches – so I’m really enjoying my rugby.
“I care very deeply about this Club and our passionate supporters; I’m desperate to help get us back to the very top of European rugby and to finish my career on a high at Franklin’s Gardens.
“I want to thank everyone at Saints for showing faith in me and giving me this opportunity to fulfil that aim.”
Capable of playing across all three back row positions, the abrasive and athletic Wood has also enjoyed a stellar international career during his time at Saints, winning 50 caps for England.
As well as appearing at two Rugby World Cups and captaining the side on three occasions, Wood helped the Red Rose to a Six Nations triumph in 2017, and Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd believes the back row’s experience will be invaluable for the side next season.
He said: “Woody’s been one of this Club’s most faithful servants over the last decade, and since I have been in Northampton, I’ve been taken aback by his dedication to get back to his very best.
“When I arrived he had some injury concerns but he has worked incredibly hard to get that right, and his performances since returning to the side have been top class.
“Not only is he a well-respected leader in the dressing room, Tom’s abilities all over the park and in the set-piece make him a great option for us, so we’re delighted to keep him on board.”