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FEATURE – First contact: Tom Wood’s big hit

17 February 2014

  • England players talk aboout first contributions in RFUtv series
  • Tom Wood discusses the importance of his first tackle in a Test match

“We talk a lot about the importance of the first hit, the first contact. You cannot underestimate the impact of the crowd, the roar, the singing, the sea of white. That’s our first contact. That’s our competitive advantage.”

Stuart Lancaster is crystal clear on the importance of the opening exchanges in Test rugby.

Tom Wood executes a tackle against Scotland during the 20-0 victory at Murrayfield

Photo: Getty Images

Ahead of England’s opening home match of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations against Ireland next Saturday, RFUtv looks at the first contributions made by England players in their specialist areas of expertise.

In the second of a six-part series this week, Tom Wood discusses the physical and psychological importance of his first chance to put in a big hit on an opposition player.

Talking through footage of his first tackles in last autumn’s QBE Internationals on Australia’s Sitaleki Timani, Argentina’s Marcos Ayerzaa and New Zealand’s Kieran Read, the relentless flanker details the split-second thought-process and expert technique required for each one.

Does the 27 year-old make a different tackle depending on who the player is, what the game situation is and the weather conditions? How important is the impression left on the referee as well as the opposition player? And what is and isn’t acceptable in tackling if you “wear number six on your back”?

Part one featured Billy Vunipola on carrying and tomorrow hear from hooker Dylan Hartley on the importance of his first throw at a lineout.