Saints swoop for Clark
Highly-rated flanker to move to Franklin's Gardens
Last Updated: 24/02/10 2:33pm
Clark: Off to the Saints
Highly-rated forward Calum Clark is set to join Northampton at the end of the season.
"There are some quality players at Northampton and hopefully being around them will improve my own game."
Calum Clark Quotes of the week
Despite being just 20, the flanker has become a key figure at Leeds Carnegie since graduating from the club's academy.
However Clark has decided the time is right to move on - with the England Under-20s captain admitting the chance to join the Saints was impossible to turn down.
"It was a really hard decision to make and my leaving isn't a negative reflection on Leeds as a club," he said.
"I've grown up there and it will always be close to my heart. But I've made a decision to push on and make the best of myself, and Northampton was an impossible club to say 'no' to.
"However I am fully committed to Leeds until the end of the season and am desperate to go out on a high."
Clark knows that his previous achievements will count for little at Franklin's Gardens and he is determined to fight hard for a place in the starting XV.
"It's going to be a real fight for me to get into the squad," Clark said. "I'm under no illusions about that, and I'll have to get my head down and graft and then make the most of my opportunities if I get them.
"There are some quality players at Northampton and hopefully being around them will improve my own game.
"The Saints is a club with ambition and a philosophy of having young, English players in their team.
"They do the basics very well and match this with flair and talent. It will be great to play with the young talent and the experienced guys as well. There is a great set-up there and the opportunity to develop myself and progress is what excites me.
"I also know how passionate the fans are from playing there and I'm looking forward to joining the club."
Northampton beat off competition from a number of clubs to sign Clark - and director of rugby Jim Mallinder is delighted to have won the race for his signature.
"Calum has made an excellent start to his career and we are excited that he will be part of our squad next season," said Mallinder.
"He is rightly regarded as one of the brightest prospects in the country. He has good ball handling skills, physicality and a mature approach to the game that was recognised when he was made England Under-20s captain last year.
"We understand that there was a lot of interest from other clubs and am delighted that Calum has confidence in where we are taking the club."