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Kieran Brookes was right to quit Newcastle Falcons says Joel Hodgson

Kieran BrookesJoel Hodgson has leapt to the defence of Kieran Brookes, claiming his own decision to swap Newcastle for Northampton was the right one.

Brookes may not receive the fondest of farewells when he departs for the Saints this summer after deciding to move on from Kingston Park for the second time in his young career.

Brookes returned to the North East in 2013 after a difficult spell at Leicester and became a fully-fledged international tight-head during England’s summer tour of New Zealand

However he has now opted to continue his progression with Saints.

Scrum-half Hodgson has taken the same plunge and though he is waiting for his chance, he insists Brookes was right to move.

“Everyone loves to talk in rugby so we had heard rumours that he’d be coming to us,” said Hodgson, 22.

“He’s had a lot of stick thrown at him in terms of his loyalty to the Falcons, but you have to look at the bigger picture. Maybe something wasn’t right behind closed doors.

“The set-up here at Saints will work wonders for him. It’s been the best decision for my development.

“Even though I’ve moved to No.9 temporarily from fly-half I feel like I’ve improved a lot – I’ve added a position to my armoury.

“You’re learning on and off the field from Lee Dickson, Luther Burrell, Dylan Hartley – all top internationals.

“You’ve got Tom Wood and Phil Dowson as leaders in the dressing room, ultimate professionals. Then you go on the field and see someone like Samu Manoa.”

Hodgson says his progress was stifled at the Falcons. “In the last three months they’ve been playing a more expansive game and (attack coach) Dave Walder’s done brilliantly,” he added. “But for me, the environment was not quite right and I had to leave.”

CHRIS BAILEY

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