In his three years in Northampton flanker Tom Wood has developed from a promising prospect to becoming a senior figure for both club and country. With 70 first team appearances under his belt, Wood was the Aviva Premiership’s Player of the Season in 2010/11 and led England on their unbeaten tour of Argentina in June 2013.
Christian Day has been one of the Aviva Premiership’s leading lineout operators for a number of seasons, with the Saints leading the way in the league this season. The second rower has been at Franklin’s Gardens throughout the Saints’ recent renaissance, helping the team win the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV= Cup and playing in the Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership finals.
One of this season’s surprise packages – outside the club, at least – Sam Dickinson has come on in leaps and bounds in the first team in 2013/14. The number eight is more than making up for the time lost in a first season at Franklin’s Gardens that was ruined by an arm injury. But he has already won a Steffans Player of the Month award this term, along with plenty of admirers throughout the Aviva Premiership.
Hooker Mike Haywood has shown that he is more than just an understudy for Dylan Hartley. The 22-year-old Senior Academy graduate passed the 50-appearance mark earlier this campaign and his big match experience includes the 2013 Aviva Premiership final and the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship final.
Ben Nutley is another recent player to come through the Saints Academy system into the first team squad. The Luton-born flanker, 21, has 41 first team appearances under his belt as well as England Under-20 honours, and has captained the Wanderers during their run to the Aviva ‘A’ League final this season.
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the announcement reflects the strong position that the Saints finds itself in at the moment.
“We’re delighted that all five players have signed new contracts with us,” he said. “They have all grown and developed in their time with us and have put in plenty of hard work on and off the field.
“Our aim is to have as good a squad as we possibly can, and this starts with making sure we re-sign the quality players we have here already.
“It is a big statement for both the club and the players that these agreements have been done so early.”