Phil Dowson & Carl Kirwan join Worcester Warriors

Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson won the Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup titles with Northampton last season

Northampton Saints flanker Phil Dowson is to leave the Premiership champions to join Championship side Worcester Warriors at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old, capped seven times by England, has made 179 appearances during six years at Franklin's Gardens.

Warriors have also agreed a deal for another flanker Carl Kirwan to join from London Welsh in the summer.

"We are continuing to build a side which can progress season after season," said Warriors boss Dean Ryan.

"To be able to attract a player of Phil's calibre to be at the centre of that journey is a huge coup for the club. What we've done over the last couple of weeks is a significant step.

Phil Dowson's international pedigree
Dowson made his England debut in the 2012 Six Nations campaign, going on to play in all five of his country's matches. However, he has not featured for England since appearing in the 14-14 draw in South Africa later that year.

"Phil's leadership qualities have been a crucial component of the success Northampton have experienced in recent seasons and his presence at Sixways will be huge for the development of this young side. He is one of the best around at being able to influence successful environments."

The former Newcastle and England forward, said only last month that he had been "hopeful" of agreeing a new deal with Saints.

Kirwan, who used to combine his rugby with a job as a North Sea scaffolder, joined London Welsh from Rotherham in 2013. He scored eight tries in their successful promotion to the Premiership last season.

"We chased Carl last year," added Ryan. "But we weren't successful in getting him. We have others to come and we're really excited about the balance that we've got."

Worcester are top of the Championship table, one point ahead of Bristol, having won 13 of their 14 league matches so far this season .