- Tom Wood proud of England’s commitment in New Zealand win
- “Win endorses everything we’re saying and doing” – Wood
Tom Wood believes the record victory over world champions New Zealand provides a ringing endorsement of the developing quality in Stuart Lancaster’s team and proves they are heading in the right direction.
Thrilling second-half tries from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi paved the way for the 38-21 victory at Twickenham, the biggest margin of victory England have achieved over the All Blacks.
The performance came on the back of single score defeats to Australia and South Africa and while Wood is not getting carried away, the 26-year-old says the pride and commitment England have shown can carry them far.
“This endorses everything we have been saying and doing,” said the all-action Northampton flanker. “Within the camp we’ve always been confident, we’ve always know we’ve had performances like this in us. We were very competitive against South Africa, we should’ve won that game, we felt were the better team.
“But for a few decisions and a few things going against us we were capable of beating Australia too. So to come out here and really put on a performance and finish the autumn in style proves the point to everybody out there what we’re capable of.
“A huge amount of effort has gone into these games, we haven’t always got the results we wanted but we’ve played with a lot of pride and commitment, we’re proud of our performances."
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Fly half Owen Farrell set the tone by slotting a series of difficult kicks to give England a 15 point lead within 42 minutes but two tries from Julian Savea and Kieran Read trimmed England’s lead to just one.
But Barritt’s first international try just three minutes later was a first of three in seven minutes that restored England’s supremacy and Wood says hitting back so quickly was a huge momentum swing.
Discussing what was said under the posts after conceding two tries in four minutes, he said: “That was crucial, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a bit worried after that second try because you could see how dangerous they were.
“As soon as you miss a tackle and they get behind you, they flood through. Their skill levels are so high and they arrive at the gain line at such speed it’s so hard to recover.
“Under the posts we said to stay calm and get back to what we were doing well. It was unnerving to concede two tries in quick succession but we knew we needed to get control of the ball again.”
Wood was making his second successive start and was named Man of the Match, primarily for a ferocious performance at the breakdown in which he got the better of New Zealand loose trio Liam Messam, Richie McCaw and Read.
The former Worcester man says he simply benefitted from a complete team performance and picked out a number of key individuals.
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“There we lots of candidates for Man of the Match, I’m a little embarrassed to receive it,” he added.
“Owen kicked his goal pretty immaculately; Manu making breaks and running strong, getting over the gain line and providing assists left right and centre; Geoff Parling ran the line out very well; and the guys up front in the scrum were dominant, with the likes of Tom Youngs carrying the ball.
“That’s what we need, a team performance and loads of people putting their hands up for man of the match. I’m fortunate it’s come my way this week, I’ll take them when they come but it was a real team effort.
“I think it comes from the emphasis they put on the breakdown and the reputation their back row came with. We stood up to that.”