Wood set for injury return
Northampton have received a boost ahead of the new Premiership season with news that flanker Tom Wood is set to return from injury.
The England international missed the entire Six Nations campaign with a foot injury. He returned for Saints in March but managed only five matches before he was ruled out of the rest of the season, including England's summer tour to South Africa, with the same problem. The back-row forward was touted as a potential England captain when Lewis Moody vacated the role last year, until injury took him out of the running. He has not featured for his country since coming off the bench in last year's 67-3 World Cup win over Romania. However, Wood is now set to return to training and will aim to play a full part in Northampton's pre-season programme, with international honours to the back of his mind for the time being. Northampton boss Jim Mallinder says Wood's fitness is improving all the time and he expects him to be fit for the start of the season. "The root cause is a little bit genetic, I think that's simply what it is. In a rugby player like Tom Wood, who is big, athletic, strong and powerful, in some cases there is a lot of pressure going through your big toe, particularly in terms of scrummaging in that type of position," Mallinder told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo. "He's had a bit of a weakness there and hopefully with a little bit of a rest he won't have any more problems with it."