Former England flanker Tom Wood announces retirement from rugby

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Former England flanker Tom Wood has announced he will retire from professional rugby next month following 12 seasons at Northampton.

Wood won 50 England caps, which included two World Cup campaigns and two Six Nations triumphs in 2011 and 2017, and he captained his country three times, while he has also had a glittering club career.

He has made 240 appearances since switching to Franklin Gardens from Worcester in 2010, scoring 22 tries and helping the Saints to a Gallagher Premiership and European Challenge Cup double in 2014.

Tom Wood, left, helped Northampton to the European Challenge Cup in 2014 (Joe Giddens/PA)
Tom Wood, left, helped Northampton to the European Challenge Cup in 2014 (Joe Giddens/PA)

The 35-year-old was also part of the Premiership Rugby Cup winning side of 2019 and was a prominent member of the Northampton team that reached the Heineken Cup final 11 years ago.

Wood, who has been out of action since February after sustaining a shoulder injury against Leicester Tigers, said: “Obviously, retiring is a difficult and emotional decision for any player.

“Northampton Saints has been such a big part of my life and I’ve made some very special memories. I feel privileged to have been able to pull on the jersey here for the past 12 seasons.

“I’m very proud of my playing career with both Saints and England. Having worked hard in recent years to set myself up for life after rugby, I’m excited for what the next chapter has in store.”

Wood, who scooped the Premiership player of the season gong in 2011, was a formidable presence in the back row and was capable of playing across all three positions there.

Tom Wood was capped 50 times by England (Mike Egerton/PA)
Tom Wood was capped 50 times by England (Mike Egerton/PA)

He wrote himself into Northampton folklore with a last-gasp decisive try in the 2014 Premiership semi-final against Leicester in a season where he skippered the Saints to victories in two finals.

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “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.

“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.”

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster, who coached Wood for much of his England career, added: “He was tough, uncompromising and skilful and held himself and others to the highest of standards.

“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.”

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