South American XV v England, Montevideo, June 2
Fired-up Wood ready for one last push
May 30, 2013
Northampton flanker Tom Wood is determined to lead the charge on England's tour © PA Photos
A bruised and battered Tom Wood is determined to lead the England charge on their summer tour - starting with the opener against a South American XV in Montevideo on Sunday.
Wood is still recovering from Northampton's Premiership final defeat to Leicester last weekend but has told head coach Stuart Lancaster he is fit to spearhead England's quest for a series victory over Argentina next month and desperate to justify the captaincy he was awarded earlier this month.
"I feel like if I am going to lead the team I need to establish myself from the start (by playing against the CONSUR XV) and Stuart agrees," Wood told PA Sport. "We're not signing off, we're not going on holiday. We are here to play rugby. My role is to lead the charge. I feel like I have three more big efforts in me.
"In professional rugby, captaincy is more about the off-field stuff, the way you conduct yourself and have as much integrity as possible. That is all I try and do whether I am captain or not. At this stage of the season, everyone has played a lot of rugby and, to some extent, there is some disappointment at missing out on the Lions tour.
"There are a lot of distractions and it's about bringing it back to the fact we are representing England. It's a huge honour, no matter what the circumstances, and it will be a huge challenge. There is a great opportunity for people on this tour, with the World Cup just around the corner."
Wood was determined to play against the CONSUR XV on Sunday not just because he is captain but because it gives him the perfect opportunity to overcome the disappointment of last weekend's Twickenham defeat. "It was a very brutal game last weekend and I am still sore - but I am getting straight back on the horse. I wouldn't want it any other way," Wood said.
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