Foden says goodbye to Saints
NEWS: Northampton Saints confirmed that fullback Ben Foden will be leaving the club at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The 32-year-old will hope to round off a decade at Franklin's Gardens in style by making his 250th appearance in Black, Green and Gold in the final game of the Premiership campaign.
Foden will lead out Northampton on his final appearance as Saints host Worcester Warriors on Saturday.
"I'm honoured to have had the opportunity to represent Northampton Saints almost 250 times," said Foden.
"I've enjoyed some incredible highs at this club over the last ten years, winning trophies both in this country and across Europe. I want to thank all of the teammates and coaches that I have worked with in that time, as well as wishing everyone that is staying here all the best for the future.
"I'm also so grateful to the club's supporters, who have been behind me right from the beginning and made me feel loved every time I ran out at Franklin's Gardens, and I leave with memories of them that I will cherish forever.
"I still feel fit and hungry for competitive rugby, and while now is the time to move on, I am really excited for what the next chapter holds in store for me."
After moving to Northampton in 2008 from Sale Sharks where he had already secured a Premiership title, Foden – who began his time at the club as a scrumhalf – soon established himself as one of the best fullbacks in European rugby.
It took him just one year to claim the first piece of silverware of his Saints tenure, lifting the European Challenge Cup in 2009.
He came within a whisker of topping that in 2011 as Northampton's spectacular run to the European Cup Final ended in defeat to Leinster, despite his try in the first half of that epic clash.
But Foden remained a pillar of the side during Northampton's stellar 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns, scoring in consecutive Premiership finals in 2013 and 2014 against Leicester Tigers and Saracens respectively – becoming only the second player achieve the feat.
He played a remarkable 22 games at fullback during Saints' double-winning season as Northampton claimed both the Challenge Cup and Premiership titles.
His exploits at Franklin's Gardens led to a superb international career also, with Foden – who had represented England at all junior age groups and for the Saxons – earning his first cap in 2009 against Italy. In total, Foden played 34 times for the Red Rose scoring seven tries, including two during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
And even after earning his club cap for 200 appearances in the Black, Green and Gold last term, Foden has pushed on again this season and is in line to represent the Club for the 250th time this weekend.
"Fodes has been a remarkable player for both Northampton Saints and England," said interim head coach Alan Dickens.
"We'll miss having him around Franklin's Gardens, both in terms of what he offers on the pitch as a player and a leader, but also as a character in the dressing room."
Forwards coach Dorian West added: "Fodes has given the supporters here at Saints many happy memories and I'm sure they will repay him with a huge ovation on Saturday. He has the respect of everyone here and we wish him all the best for his next step."