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Lewis Ludlam set to put England career on hold with Northampton exit

The England flanker will leave his boyhood club at the end of the season

Harry Latham-Coyle
Monday 05 February 2024 13:28 GMT
Lewis Ludlam is set to leave Northampton at the end of the season
Lewis Ludlam is set to leave Northampton at the end of the season (PA Wire)

Lewis Ludlam is set to put his England career on hold with the flanker departing Northampton Saints at the end of the season.

Ludlam has been heavily linked with a move to Toulon and Saints have confirmed that the 28-year-old will leave the club at the end of his contract, which expires at the conclusion of this campaign.

An academy product, the back rower made 128 appearances for Northampton across eight seasons and was appointed club captain in 2021.

Capped 25 times for his country, Ludlam featured at the 2019 and 2023 World Cups but will be unavailable for selection if he moves to the Top 14.

“Ever since I started playing rugby as an eight-year-old, I dreamt of being a Saint,” Ludlam, who missed out on selection for Steve Borthwick’s Six Nations squad, said. “While the journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing, our supporters have made every moment special for me – both the good and the bad.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have played with some great players and even better blokes, to have been coached day in, day out by some of the best coaches in the game. At the end of the season, I say goodbye as a player to start a new adventure, but I will always be a Saints man.”

Ludlam is only recently back from a two-month injury absence with Northampton flying at the top of the Premiership table.

Phil Dowson, the club’s director of rugby, said the club were “disappointed” to lose a figure of such stature.

“He’s the epitome of what we try to do with players at the club,” Dowson said. “He came in as a youngster through the academy system, got straight into work training with the first team, and has transitioned into a key player for us as well as being the captain of the club – and he’s done an exceptional job leading the group, driving the energy and standards here.”

Courtney Lawes has also been linked with a move to the Top 14 (PA Wire)

Northampton could also lose fellow stalwart back rower Courtney Lawes at the end of the season.

Lawes is understood to be considering an offer from the club that could keep him at Saints but is also the subject of interest from a number of French clubs.

Brive are thought to be leading the race for the 34-year-old, who concluded his England career after the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

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