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VIDEO – Wood wants England to match New Zealand intensity

11 November 2013

  • Tom Wood confident after England's 31-12 win against Argentina
  • Northampton Saints flanker knows New Zealand will be seeking revenge

Satisfied enough with the 31-12 QBE International victory against Argentina on Saturday, flanker Tom Wood is eyeing significant improvements against a New Zealand team that he insists England must not be "in awe" of.

Wood was once again a tenacious presence at the breakdown on Saturday, helping to propel England's pack to a dominant first-half display that laid the foundation for a sixth straight win at Twickenham.

Though Stuart Lancaster's side did not perform with the same alacrity after the interval, they now head into the All Blacks clash with just one defeat in their last tenTests.

At the start of that sequence was last autumn's memorable 38-21 triumph over New Zealand, a result which ended the southern hemisphere side's own 20-match unbeaten run. With the momentum garnered from that and Saturday's defeat of Argentina, Wood is in buoyant mood.

"We're confident in general because of the way we go about our business and the preparations we do during the week," said the Northampton Saints flanker.

Tom Wood

Photo: Getty Images

"We're under no illusions over how tough next week's going to be and what it means to them. There'll be no complacency from them this year – they'll be full on and looking to right that wrong from their point of view.

"You know you're not going to beat the All Blacks with a half-hearted, 40-minute performance. They're a very fit side, they're a very skilful side, they move the ball incredibly well and they challenge you in all areas. We've got to make sure that we match that.

"That's what we did last year – we came out incredibly well, with a lot of fire. We were brave, we weren't in awe of them as some teams often are – some teams are beaten before they even take to the field – and we've got to make sure we do much the same."

Wood's reference to the need for Lancaster's men to hit their straps for the duration of the game against New Zealand comes after they only lived up to their own high standards for the second half against Australia and before the break against the Pumas.

However, the 27-year-old insists that victory against Daniel Hourcade's charges should not be underestimated.

"We're always happy with a convincing win like that," he said. "We'd have liked to have thrown the ball around a bit more, and to have been a bit more spectacular with some of our try scoring, but this is international rugby and it's just not going to happen. A team like Argentina aren't just going to roll over.

"There'll be lots of things that we go and work on but you've got to give them credit and say that a lot of it was down to their pressure and their defence.

England medals

Photo: Getty Images

"Sometimes it's about taking the sting out of the opposition and using all of that fire against them. There'll be things to learn out of this game but, overall, a convincing win against a strong Argentina team is a big plus for us."

Now comes England's toughest test, and Wood is insistent that they have every chance of challenging the world champions.

"We're here at Twickenham – this is our home and nobody gets anything easy here," he explained. "We've got to make sure we apply pressure to them. No doubt it'll be a nail-biting game which, hopefully, we can get the better of."