Former England international Tom Wood has announced that he will retire from professional rugby next month after 12 seasons at Northampton.
Wood has capped 50 England caps, including two World Cup seasons and two Six Nations Championship victories in 2011 and 2017, and has captained his country three times while also enjoying an impressive club career.
Since joining Franklin Gardens from Worcester in 2010, he has made 240 appearances, scored 22 attempts and helped the Saints achieve a double in the Premier League and European Challenge Cup in 2014.
The 35-year-old was also part of the 2019 Premier League Rugby Cup winning squad and a notable member of the Northampton side that reached the Heineken Cup final 11 years ago.
Wood, who has been sidelined against Leicester since February after picking up a shoulder injury, said: “Retirement is clearly a difficult and emotional decision for any player. Northampton Saints has been a huge part of my life and I have some very special memories of it. I feel proud to be able to wear the shirt here. During the last 12 seasons.
“I am very proud of my career playing for both Saints and England. Having worked so hard over the past few years to prepare for life after rugby, I am excited to see what the next chapter holds.”
Wood, who was named Player of the Season in 2011, was a strong presence in the back row, able to play in all three positions.
He wrote his name in Northampton folklore with a last-gasp decisive effort in the 2014 Premier League semi-final against Leicester, in a season in which he led the Saints to victory in two finals.
Northampton rugby manager Chris Boyd said: “You can’t overstate the contribution he made on the pitch and when you look at his entire career at Northampton there aren’t many people who care more about the jersey in the jersey, they did the club’s history. He’s been competitive. Fantastic and ultimate team man and I know everyone at Franklin Gardens wishes him all the best in their retirement.”
Stuart Lancaster, Leinster’s first coach, who has coached Wood for much of his England career, added: “He was tough, relentless and skillful, holding himself and others to the highest standards.
“His longevity as a player is testament to his professionalism and dedication and I am confident that whatever path he chooses, he will succeed in all his qualities.”