England
Tom Wood backs RFU stance against overseas-based players
ESPN Staff
April 23, 2015

Tom Wood has followed in the footsteps of England team-mate Tom Youngs in backing the Rugby Football Union's policy on not picking those based overseas.

With both Nick Abendanon and Steffon Armitage up for European Player of the Year and the Australia Rugby Union relaxing their previously strict rules on completely disregarding those based overseas, the RFU is facing calls to include Abendanon and Armitage in the extended World Cup training squad which will be unveiled mid-May.

Tom May, writing in his exclusive column for ESPN, has called for the duo to be given a chance but Leicester hooker Tom Youngs has spoken out against giving those outside of the English domestic scene a chance.

The RFU's policy is to only turn to those overseas in 'exceptional circumstances'. Some argue the World Cup is such a circumstance but for Wood, who has been an integral part of Stuart Lancaster's England regime, he believes a relaxation of the rules will have a detrimental effect on morale.

"I would not like us to back-pedal on our position as it is what we have built our team around," Wood said in the Daily Telegraph. "As an England team, we have set our stall out quite early and made things clear. We have put our hat on it and we should stick to it. It could undermine some of the togetherness we have built.

"Obviously I am biased in that one of the biggest candidates we are ┬Čtalking about [Steffon Armitage] plays in a similar position. Make of that what you will. But I am even more biased in that we have a guy like Calum Clark here at Northampton and if he were to miss out on a World Cup training camp, it would be tough to take. Never mind me and my personal ambition, it could have an effect on the team."

He added: "I am not saying that there is a right or wrong answer and I am sure that whatever Stuart [Lancaster] decides, we would all get on with it and make the best of it. It is our home World Cup and we would not do anything to jeopardise it."

© ESPN Staff

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