- Wood expects more from team against Ireland
- Flanker says intensity is crucial to winning formula
England powerhouse Tom Wood has urged his side to raise their game against Ireland on Saturday if they are to stand a chance of taking this year’s RBS 6 Nations crown.
After last weekend’s 38-18 dismissal of Scotland in the Calcutta Cup, Stuart Lancaster’s men now head to Dublin to take on an Irish side high in confidence after beating Grand Slam champions Wales 30-22 at the Millennium Stadium in their opening game.
The matchup is already being touted as a decisive fixture in England’s quest for glory this year, furthered by the fact that close rivals France suffered a shock defeat to Italy at the weekend, blowing the tournament wide open.
If England are to stand a chance against Declan Kidney’s experienced outfit though, Wood believes that the team is going to have to raise its game another level and kick on from the Calcutta Cup win.
“Every game is a big game, if you look at them each individually they are all gonna be tough encounters,” said Wood.
“But Ireland away, especially coming off the back of a good win is going to be particularly tough. There is a lot of experience in their camp and they have strong players. We are going to have to keep lifting our game. We left a few tries out there against Scotland and on the whole we were very good but there were still a few errors and we will have to get that extra few percent out of ourselves if we want to go away and win in Dublin.”
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England will go into the clash on a high after the win over Scotland, a match in which they made 11 clean breaks and had 62 per cent possession. It was the biggest points margin win against Scotland since 2007 and players like Wood were integral. The Northampton Saints was in typically indefatigable form, hitting 45 breakdowns and making 16 tackles.
Wood’s showed this kind of appetite for work against New Zealand in the autumn, when England humbled the world champions 38-21 at Twickenham. With expectations at an all-time high after the win against The All Blacks, Wood believes it was essential that England got in that frame of mind for the Scotland game and is expecting the same measured approach in the forthcoming matches.
“You have got to bring that intensity to every game,” he said. “It’s easy to do that on a one-off and it’s easy to do it when you have got to lift your game for the world champions but it’s difficult to do it week-in-week-out when the challenges are slightly different like in the Six Nations.
"It was a big deal for us to go out and make sure that we governed ourselves and make sure we brought that intensity. It’s intrinsic in us; that’s what we do because of our culture and environment and because of our will to do it for each other."