England’s legendary No 10 mentored Flood in mid-2000s; now Flood is elder statesman at Premiership’s surprise package
Amid the cluster of young English fly‑halves coming to prominence this season, Toby Flood is still going strong at 35. He spends a bit less time on the training paddock – “Show ponies always need to be managed!” – but, adopting the mentoring role that Jonny Wilkinson fulfilled when Flood was breaking through at Kingston Park, he is leading Newcastle’s revival on and off the pitch.
If it was a surprise to see him slog it out last season in the Championship in the twilight of his career, Flood is adamant that jumping ship never crossed his mind and, given Newcastle have accrued four wins from their first four league matches, it is paying dividends for the Falcons. A recent study showed that No 10s are the best-paid players in the Premiership but it is hard to put a value on Flood’s experience, comprising 60 England caps as well as three Premiership titles won at Leicester Tigers and a stint at Toulouse in between his two Newcastle spells.