Saint Clarke off to Sixways
Northampton centre Jon Clarke will join Worcester Warriors at the end of the season after almost a decade at Franklin's Gardens.
Last Updated: 06/03/12 12:41pm
Northampton centre Jon Clarke will join Aviva Premiership rivals Worcester Warriors at the end of the season.
The 28-year-old has agreed to move to Sixways after almost a decade at Franklin's Gardens, believing the time is right for a new challenge.
Clarke, who was born in Sheffield, joined the Saints in 2003 and was hugely influential during the 2009/10 season, scoring nine of his total 32 tries for the club.
That form led to an England Saxons call up for their Six Nations games against Ireland and Italy and he remained a part of the squad that went on to win the 2010 Churchill Cup in Denver, USA.
Worcester head coach Richard Hill is excited that Clarke, who can also operate at full-back, has now agreed to become a Warrior.
"We are very excited that Jon will be joining us next season," he said. "He is vastly experienced and has been playing at one of the top clubs in the country for many seasons.
"He is physically a very powerful man and has the ability to offload and break the advantage line. Jon is a multi-skilled player, as he can operate at 12, 13 or 15, and will add a great deal to our midfield options.
"He also has a superb attitude and is very highly thought of in the game as well as being a tremendous talent.
"He is very serious about his rugby and very serious and ambitious about bringing success to Sixways."
Clarke admitted he wanted a change after so many years at Northampton and that he had been impressed by the ambition shown by Worcester.
"This is a new challenge for me as I prepare to move to a new club after a long and hugely enjoyable spell at Northampton Saints," he said.
"I felt I needed a change and I spoke to Richard Hill and was really impressed by his vision and also the set-up at the club.
"I feel I can play a role in the club moving up another level and want to learn new things and develop.
"Worcester are a team that have a lot of good players and many of the key men in the squad have re-signed, which is always a good sign and shows the belief in the dressing room.
"The fans at Northampton have been amazing to me and I have many friends and fond memories of my time at Saints. Obviously I now want the Saints to have a big finish to the season.
"When I leave I know I am joining a club where there is great support again and the city of Worcester is a real rugby city, something I always had at Northampton, and that backing excites me.
"The quality of players being brought in just shows the expectation to improve and I want to be part of that."