Thursday, 22 November 2012

Wood upbeat but England face stiff test

England flanker Tom Wood says he is relishing the test South Africa will provide this weekend at Twickenham but, sadly, the Red Rose are unlikely to be able to stand up to the Springboks.

 Ahead of the latest Autumn International, Wood has admitted he is looking forward to what he says is the "man test" the tourists will provide in the clash and he hopes Stuart Lancaster's side can meet the significant challenge head on.

 Wood, back in the side for the first time since last year's World Cup after recovering from a foot injury, said: "They look for your biggest guy and get theirs to run at him as hard as he can.

 "If you show any fear and back off to any extent you've got a long day at the office. You have to match it head on."

 England have had to regroup after the setback of last week's defeat against Australia. Expectations were high before that game that Lancaster's men were capable of hurting what was apparently a below-par Wallabies outfit but, in the end, it never worked out like that and they were fairly comfortably beaten.

 It all means they will need to step up considerably if they are to get anything out of the Springboks who, on their day, remain up there with the All Blacks as the strongest side in international rugby.

 As expected, the returning Wood is confident Lancaster's developing side have what it takes to combat their opponents' obvious strengths this weekend and you would not expect anything else from the 26-year-old when speaking pre-match.

However, most astute observers know it likely to turn out different than that with England set to have to defend for their lives while taking any try chances that come their way if they are to secure a headline-grabbing win.

South Africa have already accounted for Ireland and Scotland on their current tour and will be in no mood to throw away that unbeaten run at Twickenham.

For a time, England may well be up to containing the Springboks but over 80 minutes expect South Africa to come out on top, both in the physical challenge Wood is predicting and the overall result.

 Don’t forget you can use your Betfair FreeBet for the big match this weekend, don’t’ forget to log-on for all the latest England v New Zealand Rugby betting news, odds and opinion.

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