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Saints coach John Steele
"Matt is an integral part of England"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Dawson out of European final
Matt Dawson
Matt Dawson: Two dislocations in 10 days
Northampton and England's Matt Dawson is out of Saturday's Heineken Cup final and will undergo surgery on his shoulder next week.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saints coach John Steele suggested the scrum-half had been prematurely left out of Clive Woodward's 40-man squad to tour South Africa.

For him not to be there, I think England will suffer

Saints coach John Steele

Steele also said that he might play Dawson in the Twickenham clash at the weekend, pending the outcome of a specialist's report on his shoulder.

But the result showed that the injury - two dislocations in the space of 10 days playing for Northampton - would require surgery.

Steele praised Dawson's pivotal role in the England side and said that the tourists would suffer without him.

"Matt, for years, hasn't had an off season," said Steele.

"We shouldn't underestimate the success of England - how much of it was down to Matt Dawson. Both his leadership and his style of play.

I am feeling pretty healthy at the moment and ready to give it one big shot

Saints captain Pat Lam

"And for him not to be there, I think England will suffer."

Woodward had said that he would be prepared to take the Six Nations captain if he could declare himself "100 percent fit" - a scenario that can now be discounted.

But in a boost for Saints' opponents, Munster, Ireland hooker Keith Wood has recovered from a worrying calf injury.

"I asked Keith if he was fit to play and he said yes," said coach Declan Kidney.

Wood boost

Saints were not without their boosts either as skipper Pat Lam announced that he had shaken off a shoulder injury to be fit for the final.

"It is the last game for us, then we can have a big rest and I can go see a specialist myself," said the inspirational Samoan number eight.

"But I am feeling pretty healthy at the moment and ready to give it one big shot."

Munster have named their team for the final. Northampton will name theirs later this week.

Munster

D Crotty; J Kelly, M Mullins, J Holland, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; P Clohessy, K Wood, J Hayes, M Galwey (capt), J Langford, E Halvey, D Wallace, A Foley.
Replacements: J O'Neill, K Keane, T Tierney, A Quinlan, D O'Callaghan, F Sheehan, M Horan.

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See also:

23 May 00 | Rugby Union
Johnson reclaims England captaincy
23 May 00 | Rugby Union
Munster v Saints: Path to the final
21 May 00 | Rugby Union
Saints scrape into Europe
18 May 00 | Rugby Union
Saints suffer Dawson blow