Saints stars Wood and Burrell ready to prove England boss wrong

Tom Wood was left out of England's Six Nations squad
Tom Wood was left out of England's Six Nations squad

Jim Mallinder says Tom Wood and Luther Burrell are ‘bitterly disappointed’ after their England omission.

But the Saints director of rugby has backed the duo to prove a point to new Red Rose boss Eddie Jones, who decided not to include them in his squad for the Six Nations.

Wood and Burrell were among a number of experienced internationals left out by Jones, who has opted to shake things up following the World Cup failure.

Those who didn’t make the cut will now be focusing on their club in February and March, rather than England’s ambitions.

And on Wood and Burrell, Mallinder said: “Both of them have been involved in the England setup over a number of years.

“I do know Eddie has spoken to them both and given his reasons and I think they’re now determined to prove him wrong and work their way back into the squad.

“I think Eddie Jones was always going to put his mark on the team and that’s what he’s done, he has picked some younger players and quite a few without that experience.

“All I do know is Luther and Tom Wood are bitterly disappointed and they’ll be doing everything they can to get back into the team.

“There’s a few of our other players on the fringes who thought they might have a chance as well, so they’ve got to just go out and play well.”

Four Saints players did make it into Jones’ first England squad, with Kieran Brookes, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes joined by promising prop Paul Hill.

Hill, who is just 20 years old, has only started three games for Saints since joining from Yorkshire Carnegie during the summer.

And Mallinder said: “It was a surprise to be honest. He’s done really well for us this year, up to Kieran Brookes getting injured he was coming off the bench for us and putting in some good performances.

“When Brookes was injured he’s come in and started the games, so it is a bit of a shock, it’s still fairly early for him, he hasn’t played a lot of big matches but I’m delighted for him.

“He’s still a very young prop, his experiences have been relatively limited in senior rugby, he was playing at Leeds last year, now he’s moved up another level to be involved in Premiership matches so it’s another step up for him.

“I think he’s got to keep his feet on the ground, it’s still two weeks away. What he’s got is a big game against Glasgow this weekend, he’s got to make sure he plays well for Northampton and shows what he can do.”