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Tom Wood escapes red for shoulder to head of Josh van der Flier

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Northampton Saints flanker Tom Wood was lucky to escape punishment after shouldering Leinster’s Josh van der Flier in the head while clearing out a ruck.

Leinster were comfortable winners in the end against the Saints, securing a bonus-point victory and outscoring their opponents by 35 points to 19.

The reigning Pro14 champions have gotten off to the perfect start in the Heineken Champions Cup, securing a maximum of 10 points in their opening two fixtures.

However, they may feel aggrieved for the 70 minute challenge on flanker Josh van der Flier, with Wood miraculously escaping any punishment for what could have easily resulted in a red card.

Wood may face punishment from the citing commissioner over the dangerous clear out, potentially missing out on a few weeks of action with his club if the shoulder is deemed worthy of a red card.

Late disruptions for Leinster

The eastern province’s preparations were altered ahead of the game with Northampton when fly-half Harry Byrne and number eight Caelan Doris were ruled out of the match during the warm-up.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was pleased with his side’s ability to adapt in the absence of a number of regular starters, including club captain Johnny Sexton.

“It was a really tough game for our guys. The conditions are really difficult as we can see here. I thought we started well but Saints came back well into the game.

“We probably played ourselves into trouble a little bit but when you’re playing into a breeze it’s quite challenging to play out.

“Full credit to the lads. We had a few disruptions in the lead-in to the game but we adapted reasonably well. So we’ve got a bonus-point win and that keeps us in a positive place in our side of the pool,” Cullen said.

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