Former England flanker and Northampton legend Tom Wood will retire from rugby at the end of the season after an illustrious career that saw him win 50 international caps and lift the Premiership title with the Saints
- The flanker will call time on glittering career after 12 years with the Saints
- Tom Wood, 35, hasn’t played since February due to a shoulder injury
- He has spent 12 seasons with the Saints, making 240 appearances for the club
- Wood won 50 caps for England, captaining his country on three occasions
Tom Wood hopes his Northampton team-mates can give him the chance of a glorious career finale after the former England flanker yesterday confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.
The Saints stalwart, 35, has made 240 club appearances and earned 50 international caps.
As he recovers from a shoulder injury, Wood wants to end on a high by helping Northampton to what would be his second Gallagher Premiership title. Chris Boyd’s Saints must beat Newcastle on Saturday to seal fourth spot and a place in the end-of-season play-offs.
Tom Wood will retire at the end of the season to bring the curtain down on a glittering career
Should they do so, they would be just one game away from the final.
‘The shoulder is recovering really well. The surgery I had went to plan and I’m on the cusp of being back fit and available,’ said Wood, who captained England on three occasions and represented them at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups.
‘I’m training as if I’ll be available for the final and score the winner!’
Wood’s best memories in a Northampton shirt came in 2014 when they lifted a Premiership and Challenge Cup double.
The flanker has made 240 appearances for Northampton in addition to 50 for England
Wood captained his country on three occasions as figures from across the game paid tribute to the player
He added: ‘You can’t help but feel a bit saddened that this part of your life is over. But I’m not signing off just yet and hopefully there is more to come.’
Saints’ director of rugby Chris Boyd said: ‘In my tenure at Saints, Woody has brought a massive amount of experience and leadership quality to our group – not to mention giving 100 per cent every time he plays.
‘You can’t overstate the contribution he’s made on the field and if you look at his entire career in Northampton, there aren’t many people who have done more for the jersey in the history of the club.
‘In any organisation – elite sport or otherwise – it is so important to have people within it that are deeply and emotionally connected to that organisation.
Wood appeared at two World Cups for England, including the disappointing 2015 home edition
‘Woody is that sort of guy. He’s been an incredible competitor and the ultimate team man and I know everyone at Franklin’s Gardens wishes him the very best for his retirement.’ Wood’s England debut came against Wales in Cardiff in 2011.
‘It was a privilege to have coached Tom for a large part of his international career,’ said former England head coach Stuart Lancaster, now with Leinster.
‘He was tough, uncompromising and skilful and held himself and others to the highest of standards. I have particularly fond memories of his captaincy during the Argentina tour in 2013 where he was exceptional in leading a younger team and helping them achieve their potential.
‘His longevity as a player is a testament to his professionalism and commitment and I am certain with all the qualities he has, whichever path he chooses next, he will have success.’
The 2011 World Cup came after Wood had been named Premiership player of the season months before