Saints boss Mallinder salutes Wood as flanker gets England start

Tom Wood will start for England against South Africa on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Tom Wood will start for England against South Africa on Saturday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

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Jim Mallinder says he is delighted to see Saints skipper Tom Wood getting another shot with England.

Wood will start at seven for his country against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.

It will be a fist appearance for the flanker under the guidance of Eddie Jones, with Wood having not played for England since last year’s Rugby World Cup.

And Mallinder is happy for his captain to be returning to the international picture.

“It’s fantastic for Tom Wood,” said the Saints boss. “He’s been consistently good throughout his time here.

“I don’t think his form has dipped and his enthusiasm and work rate have been outstanding. He’s continued that this year and I’m delighted for him.

“He leads from the front, what you see is what you get, he says it as it is.

“He’s a good captain for us.”

Courtney Lawes will make his 50th England appearance against the Springboks, while Dylan Hartley will captain the Red Rose.

And on Hartley, Mallinder said: “We were disappointed Dylan has been injured this season, as he was.

“He’d been particularly frustrated because he was wanting to get back and play more games for Saints.

“But it was good to see him coming off the bench for us against Gloucester and I thought he really did pick his game up from the week before (at Castres).

“He made a really good impact when he came on and the more games he plays, the better he’ll become.”

England team to face South Africa: Brown; Yarde, Daly, Farrell, May; Ford, Youngs; M Vunipola, Hartley (c), Cole; Launchbury, Lawes; Robshaw, Wood, B Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Marler, Sinckler, Attwood, Hughes, Care, Te’o, Joseph.

Elsewhere on Saturday, George North will be on the wing for Wales in their game against Argentina, while Nafi Tuitavake performs the same role for Tonga in their clash with Spain.