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Waiting game for Wood

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has revealed Tom Wood could lose his race to be fit for Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Leinster.

Wood, the Aviva Premiership player of the year, has been sleeping in an oxygen tent in the hope of speeding up his recovering from a hairline leg fracture.

The England flanker has returned to light training but Mallinder is not confident he will be fit enough to play at the Millennium Stadium, saying: "We will see. He's now jogging around but whether it might be one week too early, we don't know."

Northampton had their double bid wrecked on Saturday when they fell to an 11-3 defeat to Leicester in the Premiership semi-finals.

Mallinder's job now is to ensure his squad bury that disappointment and re-focus on Europe's biggest club prize.

Northampton have not won the Heineken Cup since 2000, when they beat Munster. On Saturday they will face Brian O'Driscoll's Leinster, who are chasing a European and Magners League double.

"Of course we wanted to win and get through to Twickenham," Mallinder added.

"Now, it is very simple - it's about one game of rugby, and we don't want to have played all this good rugby this season and come out of it with nothing."


From Belfast Telegraph