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Heineken Cup
Wood losing ground in fitness race
ESPNscrum Staff
May 16, 2011
Northampton flanker Tom Wood, Northampton v Newcastle, Aviva Premiership, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, October 30, 2010
Tom Wood is battling to be fit for the Heineken Cup final © Getty Images
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Northampton boss Jim Mallinder has conceded that Saturday's Heineken Cup final could come a week too soon for injured flanker Tom Wood.

The England back-rower is currently nursing a hairline leg fracture and has been sleeping in an oxygen tent to aid his hopes of lining up against Leinster at the Millennium Stadium.

Wood, who last week was named Aviva Premiership Player of the Season, has returned to light training, but Mallinder is not confident he will be fit enough to play in Cardiff.

"We will see," Mallinder said. "He's now jogging around but whether it might be one week too early, we don't know."

Northampton's bid for a Heineken and domestic double was wrecked on Saturday as they fell to an 11-3 defeat to Leicester in the Premiership semi-finals and Mallinder's job now is to ensure his squad bury that disappointment and re-focus on Europe's biggest club prize.

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

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