Joel Hodgson is to leave Newcastle Falcons after signing terms with Aviva Premiership champions Northampton Saints.
Academy product Hodgson joined the Falcons’ professional squad in the summer of 2010, making his first team debut as a replacement during the Falcons’ Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Bourgoin the following season.
More recently the talented half-back spent time on loan with Rotherham Titans before hitting a period of strong form on his return to the North East which saw him appear in all of the last eight fixtures of the Falcons’ season. One such appearance saw 22-year-old Hodgson kick the conversion which secured an all-important bonus point against his new side.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Joel is a talented local player and we’re sad to see him go, but joining the Aviva Premiership champions offers a great opportunity for him to play a part in and learn from a team which is at the top of the league.
“We wish Joel all the best with Northampton but as is always the case at Kingston Park, the door is never closed to local talent and we look forward to watching Joel’s progress closely over the coming seasons.”
Speaking of his move, Hodgson said: “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 and I’m under no illusions that it is going to be a steep development curve for me, but I believe that the move to Northampton is in the best interests of my long-term career.