Wood: Northampton Saints are primed for three cup finals

READY FOR THE RUN-IN - Tom Wood (Picture: Linda Dawson)
READY FOR THE RUN-IN - Tom Wood (Picture: Linda Dawson)
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Tom Wood says Saints will treat their final three games like cup finals as they go in pursuit of a Premiership play-off place.

The Northampton run-in starts on Sunday, with a game against London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

That clash is followed by a home game against Sale Sharks, with the regular season ending at Harlequins on May 4.

And with Saints battling Gloucester and Quins for a top-four finish, Wood recognises the importance of bouncing back quickly from the 36-8 defeat to Leicester last time out.

“There’s a lot to play for for us, a lot’s on offer,” said the England flanker. “Obviously it was a big setback against Leicester and we’ve had to have a long, hard look at ourselves over the past couple of weeks and it’s been tough.

“There’s a lot to put right on the back of that game and we’ve just got to refocus, regroup and we know we’re a quality team when we put it together.

“We’ve just got to concentrate on getting the best out of ourselves and treating every match like a cup match in the run-in.”

London Welsh went toe-to-toe with Saints at Franklin’s Gardens in November, pushing their hosts all the way before eventually succumbing, 23-16.

And though he didn’t play in that game, Wood has seen enough of the Oxford-based outfit to know they will pose another stern test this weekend.

“They’re here to play and I think they’ve really turned up this season,” he said. “Where most people have written them off prior to any games being played, they’ve really shown their worth.

“Obviously they’ve had some bad luck off the field, being docked five points, which has put them under pressure, but they’re a quality side.

“Nobody’s run over them with ease, everyone’s had a tough battle against them so we’ll expect the same.

“There are no bad sides in the Premiership, the margins are always fine and you’ve got to earn those wins. Sometimes it takes it going right to the wire to eke them out.”