The 21-year-old half-back is moving to the East Midlands from Newcastle Falcons, where he has spent his entire professional career to date.
Comfortable in both half-back positions, Hodgson is heading to Franklin’s Gardens as a scrum-half, where he represented England Under-18 while a student at Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School.
He has experienced Aviva Premiership, LV= Cup, Championship and European rugby while at Kingston Park, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes he can add competition in the Saints’ scrum-half roster.
“Scrum-half is a specialist position where you need a lot of depth, especially when you have the likes of Kahn Fotuali’i and Lee Dickson away regularly with Samoa and England,” he said. “Joel is a talented young English player, and he will provide stiff competition for Alex Day, who himself won the Junior World Championships with England just 12 months ago.
“We certainly view Joel as a player who has a lot of potential and we’re looking forward to seeing him develop at Franklin’s Gardens.”
Hodgson said that while he felt sadness at leaving his hometown club a move to the Aviva Premiership champions was something he could not turn down.
“The Saints has been one of the top clubs in the Aviva Premiership for a number of years and it is an exciting place to be right now,” he said. “I’m under no illusions that it is going to be a steep development curve for me, but having players like Kahn Fotuali’i, Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler at the club means that I’m going to be learning from some of the best half-backs in the country.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Newcastle for everything they’ve done for me over the past few years. I grew up supporting the Falcons and to wear the first team shirt was a real privilege. Leaving Kingston Park and the friends and supporters I have at the Falcons will be a wrench for me, but I believe that the move to Northampton is in the best interests of my long-term career.”