Rugby World Cup
Wood wary of Georgia threat
September 15, 2011
Wood will make his first appearance of the World Cup against Georgia © Getty Images
Tom Wood has warned England their five-star existence will count for nothing in Sunday's World Cup clash with a Georgia side ready to take them "down a peg or two".
Wood is as grounded as they come in the England squad and he still approaches the game with the values he learned during a nine-month sabbatical playing club rugby in New Zealand.
The Northampton flanker was a product of the Worcester academy but wanted to experience rugby in the raw and so moved to North Otago for a season. He worked full-time on a farm in Oamaru and then in a shop, playing rugby simply for the love of it. Wood carries that same attitude with him now, which means he never falls into the trap of growing complacent in England's luxurious surroundings.
The Georgians benefit from none of England's facilities and they will be playing their second game in just four days - but Wood knows they will be fired up. And England learned in their opening game against Argentina how tough life can be if they fail to match that fervour.
"It's easy to become slightly snobbish when everything's done for you and we are very well looked after. We're very fortunate and that allows us to be at our best," said Wood. "But you can't take that for granted. You have to use that to your advantage and make sure the hunger and everything else is still there.
"I personally try and hold that close to my heart. People always think about the advantages we have and the luxuries these players have, but at the end of the day it's 15 players against 15 players on a square of grass.
"You've got to be willing to front up there on the pitch. A team that is perhaps limited in experience or limited in professionalism can go out there and make your life very difficult by being physical and getting in amongst it. That's what you've got to deal with. It doesn't matter whether you use a five-star bar of soap in the morning."
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