London Irish have announced the signing of Tom Collins from fellow Gallagher Premiership Club Northampton Saints ahead of the 2023/24 season.
The versatile back, adept on either wing and at full-back, will link up with the Exiles this offseason and join Declan Kidney’s project after a decade of involvement with Saints’ first team.
In his time with hometown Club, he played for Northampton on 144 occasions and registered 48 tries, an impressive scoring record that has seen him amass 240 Club points.
The Northampton Academy product and former England age-grade representative was part of the 2013 Under-20 Six Nations winning side, with Collins going on to win the Premiership Breakthrough Player of the Year the following year.
New signing Tom Collins commented on savouring a fresh challenge with London Irish and welcomes a new venture in the capital away from home comforts.
“I’ll always be grateful to Northampton, it’s the Club I have grown up supporting and was lucky enough to play for, but I felt my time was coming to an end and a new opportunity was on the horizon,” Collins commented.
“Irish reached out and I was really encouraged by the project the Club is working under with Declan [Kidney] and Les [Kiss], I feel like it will be a great fit for me.
✍️ | London Irish is delighted to confirm the signing of Tom Collins! 🙌
Tom will join the squad ahead of the 2023/24 campaign 🤝
— London Irish (@londonirish) April 28, 2023
“I’m proud to now call myself an Exile and can’t wait to link up with the boys at Hazelwood.”
The 28-year-old made his debut for Saints in their successful 2013/14 campaign, scoring a try in a Challenge Cup semi-final against Harlequins en route to the historic league and European trophy double.
Collins would go on to play an important role in Saints 2018/19 Premiership Rugby Cup win, and this season, the back has scored seven times for Phil Dowson’s men.
His tries include two braces against Sale Sharks and Harlequins respectively, whilst also appearing against Irish in this year’s Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Rugby Cup.
London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney spoke of his satisfaction in securing Collins’ talents for the next few seasons.
“I’d like to welcome Tom to London Irish, he has shown in his time with Northampton what a capable player he is and having him as our player now is a great privilege.
“We are really excited to be welcoming in a player of Tom’s calibre and we are all confident he will become a valuable member of our squad at Irish.”