Saints stars Wood and Lawes likely to return for club before country

FIGHTING BACK TO FITNESS - Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes (picture: Linda Dawson)

FIGHTING BACK TO FITNESS - Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes (picture: Linda Dawson)

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Jim Mallinder believes Tom Wood and Courtney Lawes may be asked to prove their fitness for Saints before returning to England action.

The duo, who have been suffering with ankle injuries, are expected to return to training next week ahead of the huge Six Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin on March 1.

Lawes has not played since injuring his ankle in his club’s win over Leicester on December 20, while Wood has been out of action since the defeat to Racing Metro on January 24.

And with England having won their opening two Six Nations games in impressive fashion, Wood and Lawes could return to action in the Premiership rather than on the international stage.

“It’s what Stuart (Lancaster) has generally done in the past for most players coming back from a decent injury,” said Mallinder.

“He’s expected them to show a bit of club form and prove their fitness for their club.

“But who knows? A lot of it depends on how England are doing, how successful those players are and whether there are any injuries in those positions.”