ROGER WILSON says his four-year stay at Saints was a ‘massive success’ - and admits he wishes he’d moved to Northampton earlier in his career.
The Irish No.8 has returned home this summer, moving back to former club Ulster after an impressive spell at Franklin’s Gardens.
After joining Jim Mallinder’s revolution in 2008, Wilson won the European Challenge Cup, the LV= Cup and reached the Heineken Cup final.
A fixture in the side, the 30-year-old also helped Saints re-establish themselves among England’s elite, reaching three successive Premiership play-off semi-finals.
His reward is a return to Ulster, who reached last season’s Heineken Cup final and are a club on the up, but Wilson won’t forget his time in Northampton in a hurry.
“I enjoyed my four years at Saints,” said the Belfast-born ace. “Rugby aside, I had a fantastic time, made a lot of new friends, some great people, enjoyed the lifestyle over in England.
“In terms of the rugby it was a fantastic move for me. I’ve moved on as a player, learnt a lot of new things from the coaches over there and just playing with international-class players.
“All in all it’s been a massive success and something I really enjoyed. I’m glad I made the decision to move over there for four years and if anything I wish I’d done it a couple of years earlier if I could have.”
Wilson is currently out of action with a hamstring injury picked up in his final game for Saints – a 25-23 defeat to Harlequins in the Premiership play-off semi-final at The Stoop.
And he is hoping the problem, which is expected to keep him out for 12 weeks, won’t hamper his start to the new season at Ravenhill.
“It’s a good to be back,” said Wilson. “I’m just getting everything moved over and getting the new house sorted out so it’s been a bit busy.
“With the injury at the end of the season, I’ve been doing a bit of rehab so it’s been pretty busy but it’s good.
“It’s a 12-week injury so with a bit of luck I’ll not miss any rugby, maybe a couple of games at the start, but hopefully not. I’m just cracking on with the rehab at the minute.
“I’ll probably miss a lot of pre-season training, which isn’t ideal. Hopefully I won’t miss too much and it won’t hold me back at the start of the year.”