Northampton Saints: Tom Wood replaces Lee Dickson as captain

Tom Wood
Tom Wood has 42 international caps for England

Tom Wood has replaced fellow England international Lee Dickson as captain of Premiership side Northampton Saints.

Flanker Wood, 29, is in pre-season training after neck surgery forced him to miss England's tour to Australia.

He has played 129 times since joining in 2010 and replaces scrum-half Dickson, 31, after one year as skipper.

"Lee did a great job and the first thing for me was to congratulate him on that, but to do the job well I need support from guys like Lee," said Wood.

"He's too important for our team not to have that support - he's too good a player and too big a personality around the camp.

"So one of the big things for me was to make sure there was no bitterness, no 'me versus him'.

"When I spoke to Lee I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. I was a bit anxious about doing it, but he was absolutely honest, very dignified, very graceful, pledged his support and felt like the right decision had been made."

Northampton Saints
Last season, Northampton Saints finished outside the Premiership play-off places for the first time since 2009

Saints had a "good sit down and comprehensive review" after finishing outside the Premiership play-off places last season in fifth.

"It wasn't a case of biting [director of rugby Jim Mallinder's] hand off immediately [when asked about the captaincy]," Wood admitted to BBC Radio Northampton.

"I thought about all the things that come with it because while it's certainly a huge privilege and honour, it's a responsibility and one I felt I had to do justice if I was going to accept the role.

"There was a bit of self-reflection, thinking about is it for me, can I do the role and do everyone proud?

"I obviously came to the conclusion that with the guys I've got around me, like England skipper Dylan Hartley, Lee Dickson and a lot of the senior players in Christian Day, Calum Clark and the like, I'll rely on those guys heavily but I think we can get the job done."

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