New Saints deal for Clarke
Centre pledges loyalty to Northampton
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: February 3, 2010 12:42pm
Clarke: New Saints deal
Northampton centre Jon Clarke will remain at Franklin's Gardens for the foreseeable future after penning a new deal with the Saints.
"I'm glad to get the deal done. It's good to know your future and it's good to know that I'll be at a decent club that's going somewhere."
Jon Clarke Quotes of the week
The 26-year-old made his try-scoring debut for Saints as an Academy player in 2003, a season in which he won the Young Player of the Year award, and has been a first team regular ever since.
Clarke made particular progress when he moved to outside centre in 2005 after previously playing wing-cum-full-back and consequently played in every game that season.
Having been at Saints for over six years, Clarke did not hesitate in extending his time with the club.
"I always wanted to stay at Northampton," said Clarke.
"I'm glad to get the deal done. It's good to know your future and it's good to know that I'll be at a decent club that's going somewhere.
"I'm looking forward to the next couple of years and hopefully I can keep playing to a decent standard and be in the starting team."
Clarke has enjoyed a successful season so far, scoring six tries in his 18 appearances, and is relishing being part of a high-flying side.
"This year is massive for us," he added.
"We're top four in the Guinness Premiership and in every competition. I'm fortunate to be playing. Everyone's excited and proud of what's going on."
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes Clarke will continue to flourish at Franklin's Gardens.
"Jon is an excellent player in both attack and defence," said Mallinder.
"He always asks questions of the opposition when he gets the ball in his hands and has the superb ability of being able to defend and win the ball back for us in the tackle.
"Jon has been around for a long time and it is easy to forget that he is still in his mid-twenties. So there is no reason why he cannot keep improving, both physically and in his understanding of the game, and continue to be a big player for us in the years to come."