Lewis Ludlam is finalizing a transfer to Toulon after announcing his departure from Northampton.
Lewis Ludlam has confirmed he will leave Northampton in the summer and is poised to become the latest England international to depart for France as he closes in on a move to Toulon.
The 28-year-old, who earned his 25th cap for England during the World Cup bronze-medal match against Argentina, is expected to join the increasing number of players heading to the Top 14 league. He will follow in the footsteps of Jack Willis, Henry Arundell, David Ribbans, Joe Marchant, and Jack Nowell. Owen Farrell will also be joining Racing 92 in the upcoming season.
Ludlam started two of England’s World Cup pool matches – having been a mainstay of the side during the Six Nations last year – but fell down the pecking order towards the latter stages of the competition. He has only just recovered from a two‑month injury layoff but, like Billy Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler who are also out of contract in the summer and thought to be heading abroad, he has been conspicuous by his absence in Steve Borthwick’s recent Six Nations squads.
Northampton is facing a setback with the departure of their captain, while Courtney Lawes is rumored to be transferring to a French team. Phil Dowson, the director of rugby for Northampton, expressed disappointment at losing a talented and well-respected player like Lewis.
“He has made a tough choice and we must honor and acknowledge it – although it is still disheartening to see him leave, despite our efforts to keep him at Saints by offering a new contract.”
According to reports, Ludlam did not receive an improved hybrid contract from the Rugby Football Union for the upcoming season. These contracts are meant to incentivize England players to stay in the Premiership, and were previously offered to players like Maro Itoje and Jamie George before they re-signed with Saracens.
“I have struggled greatly with making this decision,” Ludlam stated. “I believe I have put all of my physical and emotional effort into this club, and I hope our supporters have noticed how much representing Northampton means to me and the way I approach the game.”