'Inspiration' Wood has taught Saints skipper Ludlam so much

Lewis Ludlam scored on his 100th Saints appearance on SaturdayLewis Ludlam scored on his 100th Saints appearance on Saturday
Lewis Ludlam scored on his 100th Saints appearance on Saturday
Lewis Ludlam says he will never be able to fill the boots of 'inspiration' Tom Wood.

And the current Saints skipper says he has learned so much from the long-serving legend who will be leaving the club this summer.

Wood will retire at the end of the current campaign, having spent 12 years at the Gardens.

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Ludlam has assumed the role of leader and talisman for this Saints team in recent years.

But the Academy graduate said: "You can never fill those boots.

"Woody has been inspiration for me, as a 16, 17-year-old watching him.

"He's hard-nosed, always in the fight, a proper warrior and no one can keep him down.

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"To be able to pull on the shirt with him at times in my journey has been an absolute honour.

"I'll never fill those boots but what he has taught me is you've got to keep fighting, you've got to get your head down and work hard and put the team first.

"It's one thing I try to take forward."

Ludlam crowned his 100th Saints appearance with a late score in a 65-26 win against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday.

And he said: "It's fantastic.

"This is my childhood club and if you'd told me four or five years ago I would play 100 times for them I would have told you that you were crazy.

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"Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) has given me the opportunity to play so it's been about doing the rest of the boys proud, showing them that I want to be here for another 100 games.

"My family have worked incredibly hard to get me into this position as well.

"It was nice to get that ovation at the weekend but the main focus was getting the win and putting ourselves in position to win the Premiership trophy."

Saints will now go to Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-finals on Saturday (kick-off 4.30pm).

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And Ludlam said: "These are the ones you remember and the ones you grow up thinking about.

"These are the ones that make your career, this is everything and this is what makes your story.

"I'm really looking forward to going there."