Mallinder: Wood must not dwell on Lions omission

MISSING OUT - Tom Wood (picture: Linda Dawson)
MISSING OUT - Tom Wood (picture: Linda Dawson)

Saints boss Jim Mallinder has urged Tom Wood not to dwell on his Lions omission.

Wood missed out on a place in Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad for this summer’s tour of Australia.

It was a blow for the England star, who has been a stand-out member of the national squad in recent months.

Wood was named man of the match in the monumental 38-21 win against world champions New Zealand in December and put in a series of good displays during the recent Six Nations.

However, he was unable to force his way into Gatland’s initial plans, paying the price for playing in an area of huge strength for the Lions.

And Mallinder said: “I think Tom must have been very close. He’s been playing well for us all season and in the international games he was one of England’s best players.

“Naturally he’s disappointed he’s not there, but he’ll go away and he knows what he’s got to do. You can’t just dwell on these setbacks, you’ve got to crack on.

“He wants to finish the season well with us, then go away with England and set some high standards for them and see what happens.”

Wood could still come into contention at some stage during the tour should the Lions suffer injuries in the back row.

And Mallinder believes his player will now go away and attempt to prove a point to Gatland and Co.

“They’ve gone for a number of Welsh back rows there, and Tom accepts that,” said the Saints boss.

“I guess if the fixtures had been a different way round, it might have been slightly different. If they’d have picked it after the New Zealand win, I’m sure a lot more English would have been in the squad.

“But so it is and from speaking to Tom I know he’s quietly determined just to keep going and prove he should have been on the trip.”