Wing Tom Collins seals London Irish switch after 10 years at Northampton

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Tom Collins will trade Northampton for London Irish this summer on a mission to prove his enduring top-level class.

The back-three star has made 144 Northampton appearances in 10 years at the Franklin’s Gardens club.

Collins’ arrival at resurgent Irish will offset the loss of Saracens-bound full-back Tom Parton and England wing Ollie Hassell-Collins, who is joining Leicester.

The 28-year-old admitted being quickly enticed by Irish coaches Declan Kidney and Les Kiss, with the Exiles having fallen just shy of a Premiership play-off berth this season.

“I feel like I am ready for a fresh start somewhere new, I want to prove that I can play consistently at the very top level,” said Collins.

“I’ll always be grateful to Northampton, it’s the club I have grown up supporting, but I felt my time was coming to an end and a new opportunity was on the horizon.

“Irish reached out and I was really encouraged by the project the club is working under with Declan and Les, and I feel like it will be a great fit for me.”

Irish rugby director Kidney was delighted to complete Collins’ capture.

“Tom has shown in his time with Northampton what a capable player he is and having him as our player now is a great privilege,” he said.

“We are really excited to be welcoming in a player of Tom’s calibre and we are all confident he will become a valuable member of our squad at Irish.”