Hooker Wood signs one-year deal with Harlequins

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The Independent Online

The Ireland captain, Keith Wood, has signed a new one-year contract with Harlequins which will keep him at the club until June 2003.

The 29-year-old hooker joined Quins in the summer of 1996 and made his club debut in the 75-19 victory over Gloucester. Wood is now Ireland's most capped hooker of all time with 47 caps, and led the side to a famous Six Nations win over England in Dublin in October, scoring the only try at Lansdowne Road to deny Clive Woodward's side the Grand Slam. Wood, who also has five Lions caps, made his 100th appearance for Quins earlier this season in the Heineken Cup against Castres.

"There is no doubt that Keith is a world-class player, so this is fantastic news for the club," Mark Evans, the Harlequins chief executive, said.

"He has been extremely loyal to Quins since he joined us and, apart from having tremendous footballing skills, Keith is also a great leader which makes him a vital member of our squad."

Wood, however, will miss tomorrow's home game against the Zurich Premiership leaders, Leicester, with a calf strain.

The Rugby Football Union have written to all Zurich Premiership clubs and referees to clarify the law over substitutions. The move comes after London Irish were found to have unwittingly breached the rule concerning front-row substitutions by replacing all three players. The RFU points out that clubs are only permitted to replace two front-row forwards and up to five other players in any one game.

Leinster's Eric Miller has been given a 30-day ban after his sending-off for kicking Munster's Anthony Foley during the Celtic League final on Saturday. The Irish flanker will therefore not be able to play in Leinster's final two pool games in the Heineken Cup: against Newcastle on 5 January and Toulouse on 12 January.

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