Northampton Saints backrow Tom Wood is using the suspension of the Premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic as a ‘mock retirement’.

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Premiership Rugby this afternoon announced that suspension of the season was set to continue, although the organisation maintain that they want to finish this year’s competition if possible.

Wood is putting it to good use, using the break in the season as an opportunity to ready himself for life after a professional rugby career.

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“I’ll be honest, because I’m in the twilight of my career now, I’m using this break as a mock retirement,” he told the club website.

“All those challenges that come when you retire – not having the changing room, not having the banter, not having the boys around you or the structure of a daily routine – I’m practising separating myself from that emotionally and physically.

Wood’s current Saints contract runs to the end of the 2019/20 season.

“No-one really knows how they are going to deal with those things until you retire, so I’m using this as a dummy run and making sure that I have some structure in my day.

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“We’re still limited in what we can go and do, but in terms of being apart from the rest of the team and making sure I’m productive, I’m practising those things a little bit.”

Capable of playing across all three backrow positions, Wood enjoyed a stellar international career during his time at Saints, winning 50 caps for England.

As well as appearing at two Rugby World Cups and captaining the side on three occasions, Wood helped the Red Rose to a Six Nations triumph in 2017.

“I’m actually getting the Mrs and the kids to give me a big cheer every time I bring a new chopping board out of my workshop!” he joked.

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“Obviously, the adrenaline you get from playing in front of a partisan crowd is something you can’t replace, and what that looks like post-rugby – I have no idea.

“I’d love to have a role here even after my playing days are done, but I intend to stay local when I retire so I’ll always have a connection to the Club, even if it’s just as a fan.”

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