Saints snap up Wood
Northampton agree deal to sign Worcester flanker
By James Mason. Last Updated: 27/01/10 10:58am
Wood: Moving to the Saints
Northampton Saints have agreed a deal to sign back row Tom Wood from Worcester Warriors at the end of the season.
"Tom is an excellent player. He has plenty of Guinness Premiership and European experience, and because he is still a young man we believe he can improve and add to his game."
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The 23-year-old, who has been ever-present in the Worcester first team since he burst onto the scene in 2007, was a product of the academy at Sixways.
An imposing player on the field, Wood's has recently been selected for the England Saxons squad - and Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted at the signing.
He said: "Tom is an excellent player. He has plenty of Guinness Premiership and European experience, and because he is still a young man we believe he can improve and add to his game.
"The back row has been one of the most competitive areas of our squad over the past two years and having Tom here will mean that the standards will only go up. We are building a squad that we want to be competitive at the top end of the Guinness Premiership for several years and Tom will be a big part of that."
Worcester director of rugby Mike Ruddock expressed his disappointment at losing Wood.
Ruddock, who announced the signing of Ireland flanker Neil Best from the Saints in Tuesday, added: "We're disappointed that Tom Wood will leave the club at the end of the season.
"He has come through the Warriors academy system and progressed to England Saxons squad level in a short space of time with the guidance of our coaching team."
Competition for places is high at Northampton and Wood's admits this was a big reason for the move.
He said: "That's part of the reason why I want to come. That's the challenge, to improve my game. I'm naturally very competitive and believe I will fit into that environment.
"That was the big carrot for me in terms of signing. The main reason for coming is to be part of the competitive environment and hopefully be a part of the starting line-up. Of course I will have international ambitions too, but my first motivation will be to get into the Saints first team.
"We've been very aware of how strong Northampton have been across the board and how fit they are across the 80 minutes, as we found out at Worcester this season.
"They've got the ability to play fast and put pressure on teams. When you take a step back you have to admire how Northampton can step it up in the last few minutes and the confidence they have to step it up.
"I'd like to thank Worcester for everything they've done for me. I've been there a long time and they've played a huge role in my development, but when you look at this objectively this a massive and exciting opportunity that I felt too good to turn down."