Tom Wood to miss Northampton's Heineken Cup final

England flanker Tom Wood has been ruled out of Northampton's Heineken Cup final against Leinster at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Wood, the Aviva Premiership player of the year, has lost his battle with the hairline leg fracture he sustained against Gloucester on April 19.



"Tom is out. He trained yesterday with the team but it's one week too soon," said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

Wood, who has enjoyed an outstanding debut season at Franklin's Gardens that included his England debut, had been sleeping in an oxygen tent in the hope of speeding up his recovery.

Mallinder is disappointed to lose the 24-year-old but believes his absence is tempered by an otherwise clean bill of health for the Millennium Stadium.



"Tom is not 100% fit. He's very, very close and I guess if we were a desperate team we could have taken the chance with him," continued Mallinder.



"But it's not worth it. We have a strong squad who have been playing well and unfortunately he won't be running out on Saturday.



"It's a big blow but when you get to this stage of the season with only one player out, then you'd probably take it."



Mallinder confirmed that England winger Chris Ashton is fit to play despite requiring stitches after being punched by Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi in Saturday's Premiership semi-final defeat.



"Chris is fine. He took a heavy blow. He wasn't concussed or knocked out and carried on playing," said Mallinder.



"It's been out in the press about his knee injury and that's been ongoing for a couple of months. That's not an issue.



"He will be full on for Saturday. He's sat out contact training - he'd already got a split above one eye before that incident.



"The doctor was busy at half time, he was busy stitching up both eyes, but Chris is fine."



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