Saints star Wood says the sky is the limit for in-form England

IN THE THICK OF IT - Tom Wood in action during Sunday's Test win over Ireland in Dublin
IN THE THICK OF IT - Tom Wood in action during Sunday's Test win over Ireland in Dublin

Tom Wood insists the sky is the limit for Grand Slam-chasing England after their landmark 12-6 victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

England had not won an RBS 6 Nations game in Dublin since 2003, when Sir Clive Woodward’s team clinched the Grand Slam before going on to win the Rugby World Cup.

Stuart Lancaster’s young England team will not allow themselves to even contemplate emulating those giants of 2003, not with a wounded French side due at Twickenham on February 23.

But the manner in which England’s young team passed their biggest test of character since Lancaster took charge has given Wood the confidence that anything is possible.

“I don’t think there’s any limits to what we can achieve,” Wood said.

“We have to keep focusing on the next job and stay very grounded.

“All our victories so far have been built on that intensity and hard work. They are not built on individual flair or individual talent they are built on togetherness and the culture that underpins that.

“The moment we forget that and get ahead of ourselves we are in trouble.

“It’s our ferocity in the breakdown, our energy in defence, our willingness to work for each other that is making the difference and we need to keep remembering that.”

Asked whether England can win the Grand Slam, Wood said: “I like to think so. If we get things right, we’re going to be a very difficult side to beat because we are hard to break down.

“France will be hurting after recent weeks, Wales are finding some form and will be tough at the Millennium Stadium and Italy are showing what they are capable of, so we’ll keep our feet firmly on the ground.”

Owen Farrell kicked all of the points as England displayed a composure and control which belied their lack of experience at the highest level.

England captain Chris Robshaw felt his side had “put down a marker” with their victory, which was by man measures the best achievement under Lancaster.

The victory over New Zealand in December was stunning but it was a one-off performance from a team which had nothing to lose. Now they shoulder expectations and each week they rise to them.

England added new levels to their attacking game to beat Scotland 38-18. Under incessant rain in Dublin they battled for their victory.

“I think it was a pretty big achievement to come up against such an experienced team in challenging conditions and get the win,” Wood said.

“We measure ourselves in terms of consistency and the biggest thing for us is that we didn’t just get up for one game against the All Blacks.

“We managed to back it up against Scotland and we came away to a really tough environment and did the same again.

“We won with a lot of flair and scored some tries against New Zealand and we have come away here and ground out a hard-fought win against a really aggressive, powerful side.

“We’re winning in different ways. That is the way we are evolving now.”