England in New Zealand 2014
Wood slams 'ridiculous' tour schedule
May 15, 2014
Juggling act ... and Tom Wood says England have got it wrong © Getty Images
Tom Wood, the England and Northampton flanker, has slammed what he called "ridiculous" scheduling which means England will go into the first Test in New Zealand with a weakened side.
The first Test of the summer tour is in Auckland on June 7, a week after the Premiership final. This means the squad will travel without those involved in that game, and if there is a Northampton-Harlequins final, eight first-choice players will be ruled out until the second Test.
Until now, reaction from players has been muted, but Wood did not mix his words.
"I think it's ridiculous," he said. "It splits your loyalties and it is a question you should never have to ask yourself. The reality is that playing for a Premiership final could do you out of an England cap. For some people, that could be their first cap or the difference between getting in the side and cementing your place or not.
"Those are questions you should never have to ask. You should be doing the best you can for your club and playing yourself into contention for your country. The two should never be in conflict."
The RFU did request the Tests be put back a week but this was refused by the New Zealand board. But the RFU only has itself to blame for agreeing to the dates in the first place and then relying on NZRU to make changes when it could have pushed for the domestic schedule to be the one to alter.
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