Wood eyes French test

Rising star hoping to retain his place

By Tony Curtis.   Last Updated: 21/02/11 9:12am

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Wood: Hoping to retain his place

Wood: Hoping to retain his place

Sky Bet

Rising England star Tom Wood is hoping he has done enough to retain his place going into the mouth-watering RBS Six Nations clash with France.

"Obviously we don't know what the team is going to be yet but I would love the chance to play in that kind of game, especially when it is at Twickenham."
Tom Wood Quotes of the week

Wood has been the find of the tournament, with the Northampton flanker having been propelled into the side due to injuries to Tom Croft and Lewis Moody.

The previously uncapped Wood shone in the wins over Wales and Italy, but his place in the No.6 jersey to face France at Twickenham has come under threat by the return to fitness of Croft and Moody.

England skipper Moody came on for 25 minutes in Bath's comprehensive rout of Northampton, putting in a number of telling tackles, while Leicester back-row Croft was given the same time during the win against Wasps.

Wood, though, was one of number of England players given the weekend off ahead of the match between the only unbeaten sides left in this season competition.

And the 24-year-old is now waiting to see whether or not he has done enough to take on Les Bleus.

Competition

"There is lots of competition in the back row now - and you are never going to avoid that," Wood told skysports.com

"You've got to just make sure you are training well and giving the best account of yourself and leave the coaches to pick the team.

"Obviously you are going to want the shirt, everybody does, and I am up against some stiff opposition from the likes of British Lions and the England captain coming back, so I will just have to make sure I do everything that I can to stay in the side.

"I don't know what they think behind the scenes or what their thoughts are for selection. I'd like to think that I am in with a shot. As long as I train well I think that I will be but there are some quality players to come back - and that is good for England rugby."

The showdown at the Twickenham will see the top two packs in the northern hemisphere collide head-on.

France arrive with the likes of Thierry Dusautoir, Imanol Harinordoquy, Nicolas Mas, Julien Bonnaire and Sébastien Chabal in among their number.

And Wood is relishing the chance to pit his skills against some of the top forwards in the game.

Challenge

"This is exactly what it is all about, playing in the big games against the big names, the in-form guys. This is where you can make your mark and start to build your own reputation if you play well, so it is definitely a challenge I look forward to," said Wood.

"Obviously we don't know what the team is going to be yet but I would love the chance to play in that kind of game, especially when it is at Twickenham.

"They are a quality team across the board, it is not just the pack, they have threats all over the place. The game as a whole will be a huge challenge."

France coach Marc Lievremont has rated England as the top side in the north - however Wood insists the England team refuses to get drawn into the psychological warfare.

"It is just mind games in the same way Warren Gatland was throwing a few spanners in the works earlier on for different reasons," he said.

"There is never going to be any complacency from us.

"We know there French are coming here to win and coming here fired up, so we have got to prepare for the worst case scenario and that is the French on top form. If we do that we will have a very good chance of winning."

Tom Wood was speaking to skysports.com on behalf of the England team at a unique sweat session to launch Powerade ION4, a new sports drink which helps replenish four of the minerals lost in sweat. For more information visit www.poweradegb.com

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