Lewis Ludlam: Northampton Saints keen to keep England back row amid Toulon links

Lewis Ludlam helped England finish third at the recent World Cup in France
Lewis Ludlam helped England finish third at the recent World Cup in France

Northampton Saints want club captain Lewis Ludlam to stay at the club despite reports linking him with a move to French side Toulon.

The 27-year-old England international has played more than 100 games for Saints since his debut in 2016.

And he was back in the side for Saturday's home win over Bath after returning from the World Cup in France.

"We're desperate to keep Luds," director of rugby Phil Dowson told BBC Radio Northampton.

"We're in negotiations at the moment and, as it stands, nothing's been formalised.

"We're going to keep pushing on that to try and keep him here."

Reports in L'Equipe have said that Ludlam and Bristol and England prop Kyle Sinckler are set to join Toulon in 2024.

Should the move go ahead, Ludlam would be re-united with former Northampton team-mate Dave Ribbans, who moved to Toulon after leaving Saints at the end of last season.

"I'm never resigned to losing him. We had this conversation a lot last year with Courtney (Lawes) and he's still here," said Dowson.

"Lewis Ludlam, we love him and want to try and keep him, but we are aware that there's other clubs who see that quality and want to take him."

Ludlam began his rugby career in his home town of Ipswich and was named England's Player of the Tournament at the World Under-20 Championship in 2015.

He made his Northampton senior debut in 2018-19 and was named co-captain with Alex Waller in 2020, before taking on the job alone in 2021-22.