For many aspiring young players, news of a veteran clubmate in their position extending his contract by another two years might go down like a lead balloon.
For Newcastle fly-half Will Haydon-Wood, however, the recent decision of ex-England schemer Toby Flood to extend his stay at Falcons is being viewed as hugely positive.
Haydon-Wood, currently with England U20s during the Six Nations, says of his 34-year-old teammate: “Toby’s been there and done it all at the highest level with England, Falcons, Leicester and Toulouse so it’s pretty cool that I’ll still be able to learn from him.
“I try to do most of my extras with him because he knows most things about the game and he’s been really good with the younger boys like myself. As long as you’re prepared to ask questions and put yourself forward, he’ll give up his time to help you improve.
“The fact he’s just signed a new two-year contract is good news for me because with all the experience he has, he’ll be brilliant to still have around as I make my way in the game.
“I try to base a lot of my own game on what’s Toby’s done in his career and having another former fly-half like (Falcons head coach) Dave Walder coaching me at Newcastle is really good as well. He pushes the No.10s hard and is another great guy to learn off.”
Hailing from Neston, on the Wirral, Haydon-Wood played his junior rugby at Caldy RFC before moving to Sedburgh School, a renowned seat of rugby learning, when he was 13.
Having been spotted by Newcastle, he moved quickly through the academy ranks before relocating to the north-east outpost on a full-time basis last summer.
Haydon-Wood, 19, explained: “I started at Caldy in the U6s and stayed there until I went to Sedbergh, so it was weird earlier this season being loaned out at Tynedale and playing against them in National Two North. But Caldy are having a great season, which is good to see.
“Tynedale’s been good for me and I’ve enjoyed that as well. It was great to jump into men’s rugby at the start of the season and feel my way into it, so it’s been a really good learning curve and a lot of Newcastle boys have been through the Tynedale set-up.”
While Haydon-Wood is a fly-half by trade, this season has seen him exposed to other positions.
He said: “Through the age groups I was always a fly-half, which will probably be my position moving forward, but this season I’ve played in the centres and fullback as well which has broadened my game a bit and given me an appreciation of different styles.
“I’ve not had any first team games at Newcastle yet but I made my England U20s debut against South Africa last season and am enjoying being part of the squad. My aim now is to get more caps under my belt and get into the squad for the Junior World Cup.”
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