Saints legend Wood loved his final Gardens outing

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Tom Wood reflected on an 'unbelievable' experience after taking to the field for the final time at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon.

Wood started for the Barbarians as they took part in a historic game against the Saints.

And an encounter that was expected to be entertaining didn't disappoint as Saints ran out 45-39 winners.

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Wood was given a guard of honour as he left the field, having started at No.8 for the BaaBaas.

And the 36-year-old, who retired during the summer, loved every second of his last game at the Gardens.

"It's been a great week all round and it's back to old school rugby values, back to why you got into the game in the first place," Wood said.

"It was the weirdest half-time I've ever been a part of because we were just singing and dancing in there. No one spoke any rugby, there were no serious messages, we just had the music on and everyone was enjoying themselves. It was the same pre-match.

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"To get that kind of spirit into rugby but still deliver that kind of performance was great.

Tom Wood loved his final Gardens outingTom Wood loved his final Gardens outing
Tom Wood loved his final Gardens outing

"There were some errors and we probably gifted a couple of soft tries through disorganisation and things, but we played with a lot of flair and ambition and scored some good tries of our own.

"I hope the crowd and everyone enjoyed it and I hope Saints got something out of it because ultimately it was preparation for them for what's coming up for the rest of the season.

"For us, there were guys without jobs, guys who are retiring or leaving the game and for some of these guys it was like an international debut.

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"For someone like me, who has been retired for five months and who didn't play much last season because of a shoulder injury, to finish like that and to wheel me out one more time and play in front of a crowd like that on a pitch like this was unbelievable because I'll never get that again.

There was plenty of fun for Tom Wood and Co in the Barbarians dressing roomThere was plenty of fun for Tom Wood and Co in the Barbarians dressing room
There was plenty of fun for Tom Wood and Co in the Barbarians dressing room

"All we really talked about was the pride of the (Barbarians) jersey and you put a unique group of players together for a week and you develop a team culture then you rip in on a Saturday and you're trusted to be a good rugby player.

"There's no tomorrow so your job isn't on the line on Monday, you're not getting an earful in the Monday morning meeting for dropping a ball or missing a tackle.

"We almost celebrated mistakes because the next thing is what matters.

"It was a chance to release the pressure valve you have as a professional rugby player, to enjoy it and not hold on to every mistake.

"It was an amazing freedom to play rugby with."

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