Northampton Saints 21 Leicester Tigers 20: Tom Wood insists there's still work to be done after scoring last-minute semi-final winner
Wood's last-gasp try saw Saints beat their East Midland rivals by a single point and book their place in the Premiership final
Saturday 17 May 2014
Northampton flanker Tom Wood has warned his side they cannot afford to get carried away with their Aviva Premiership semi-final victory over Leicester - emphasising there is still work to be done.
England back-rower Wood's last-gasp try sealed the Saints' 21-20 comeback triumph over Leicester at Franklin's Gardens on Friday night.
The Saints shrugged off Salesi Ma'afu's red card and a 17-6 half-time deficit to power into their second successive final in a fractious match that also saw yellow cards for Leicester trio Tom Youngs, Vereniki Goneva and Dan Bowden.
The Saints celebrated the final whistle with laps of honour and a mixture of relief and elation as they avenged last season's 37-17 Premiership final defeat to the Tigers as well as ending a run of 10 games without victory over their fierce East Midlands rivals.
Rugby director Jim Mallinder, whose side face Bath in the Amlin Challenge Cup final in Cardiff on Friday night before moving onto the Premiership showpiece at Twickenham on May 31, told his players to revel in victory with several sensible drinks to wind down and take stock.
Wood challenged Northampton not to view the Leicester victory as mission accomplished.
"It's difficult to manage now because that's such a high," he said.
"There's so much to celebrate and so many positives, but the job's not finished and somehow we've got to keep our feet on the ground, and regroup.
"It's all about preparing for two massive finals now, and we've worked too hard for too long to come away with nothing.
"We're not entitled to it, but I think we've got the armoury to win it if we get everything right.
"We've got to go up another gear I think."
Tries from George North and Wood cancelled out Leicester scores from Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs, marking his 100th Premiership appearance.
Mallinder said Saints must savour the victory, albeit remaining mindful that a breakthrough trophy still eludes the Franklin's Gardens men.
"It's significant in terms of turning Leicester over, we've had some great tussles with them over the last few years," he said.
"Hopefully that's going to give us momentum, and we've got two finals in two weeks now to look forward to.
"We've beaten Leicester which is good, we've got through to the final, but a significant moment will be when we win a big trophy.
"We've got through to a Heineken Cup final and the Premiership final last season, but a significant breakthrough will be landing a big trophy.
"What we do is enjoy the moment and enjoy the win.
"You've got to: you don't get too many wins like this, so it would be stupid not to enjoy it."
Dejected Leicester boss Richard Cockerill said: "It hurts because it's Northampton, and it hurts because it's a semi-final
"They deserved it and we just made far too many errors.
"Ultimately not winning silverware is a big disappointment and effectively a failure for a club of our stature.
"But my players have given everything and I am extremely proud of what they have achieved."
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