sport

Wood: We've buried hoodoo myth

Northampton have buried the myth of Leicester Tigers' hoodoo over the Franklin's Gardens club, according to Tom Wood.

England flanker Wood claimed the try that sunk Leicester in Northampton's breathless 21-20 Premiership semi-final victory on Friday night.

Leicester powered into a 17-6 half-time lead, and Saints' outlook became increasingly bleak when prop Salesi Ma'afu was sent off for punching Tom Youngs.

Tries from George North and Wood cancelled out Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs' scores, as Saints sneaked to their second successive final.

Last season Dylan Hartley's red card allowed Leicester to swipe the title 37-17 at Twickenham.

One year on and Wood and company have eased those memories somewhat: but also ended Leicester's run of 10 games without defeat over their fierce rivals.

"I've always known we've had it in us," said Wood, already eyeing a first Premiership title.

"It's been frustrating to talk about being nearly men, about this omen, and this hold Leicester have had over us.

"It's a bit of a myth really because it's such tight margins, we've drawn and been very competitive.

"It's been so frustrating, to know you've got that in you. And we could have been so much better in this game even.

"So to get over the line finally is a huge positive and something we're really proud of."

Jim Mallinder's side face Bath in the Amlin Challenge Cup final on Friday, May 23, before heading to Twickenham for the Premiership showpiece a week later.

"It's a pretty big high that: the atmosphere was amazing, a proper East Midlands derby, all sorts to talk about and loads to contend with," said Wood.

Dejected Leicester boss Richard Cockerill admitted his side's indiscipline cost them a 10th-straight Premiership final berth.

Dan Bowden, Vereniki Goneva and Tom Youngs all picked up yellow cards, while there was an increasing penalty count in the second half.

"It hurts because it's Northampton, and it hurts because it's a semi-final," said Cockerill.

"They deserved it and we just made far too many errors. Ultimately not winning silverware is a big disappointment and effectively a failure for a club of our stature.

"But my players have given everything and I am extremely proud of what they have achieved.

"Northampton are a good club and we are a great club. They celebrated like they had won the title out there. They will move on to the final and good luck to them, but we will be back stronger next season."