Saints ace Wood can’t wait to captain England

Tom Wood is ready to lead from the front for England
Tom Wood is ready to lead from the front for England

Tom Wood says captaining England on home turf will be the realisation of a dream.

The Saints star will skipper Stuart Lancaster’s men in Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against France at Twickenham.

Wood led England in their two-Test tour of Argentina in 2013, but this will be his first time as captain at Twickenham.

He will win his 37th cap in the process, and the 28-year-old can’t wait to show what he is made of against the French.

“I’m so proud to have been given the honour,” Wood said. “It’s something you can only dream of as a kid.

“I’ve just got to rely on what’s got me here in the first place. I always try to lead by example, through my energy, commitment and bravery.

“It’s also important not to say too much – be as concise as possible and also allow the other leaders in the team to speak.

“First and foremost though, you’ve got to be worth your place in the team and that means leading through your endeavour and your commitment.”

Wood is determined not to focus too much on the World Cup, which begins with England’s game against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.

Instead, he is concentrating on what is directly in front of him, knowing a good performance against France is essential both for the team and for personal progress.

“We’ve all been working hard behind the scenes for a good six or seven weeks now and a good performance endorses all that we’ve been doing,” Wood said.

“It’s a big game – forget about the tournament. It’s a Test against France in front of 80,000 people and we want to win the game on its own merit.

“We don’t pull on an England shirt and give anything other than everything.”

Saints flanker Calum Clark, who won both of the club’s player of the season prizes last term, will win his first cap in Saturday’s contest.

And Wood has backed his club-mate to shine in the heat of battle.

“He’s comfortable in this environment – he’s been around the training camps before – and he’s had to wait a long time for his opportunity,” Wood said.

“He’s an emotional, passionate man and that’s a huge asset. He’s come a long way and now plays with a lot of composure, too.

“I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him and hope it goes well for him.”