England v South Africa: Tom Wood braced for ‘man test’

England v South Africa: Tom Wood is relishing the challenge of facing a powerful Springboks side at Twickenham on Saturday

stuart lancaster
Stuart Lancaster's side take on South Africa on Saturday

stuart lancaster

Tom Wood has revealed he is relishing South Africa’s “man test” when England face the Springboks at Twickenham on Saturday.

Stuart Lancaster’s men are looking to bounce back from a 20-14 loss to Australia last weekend, while the Springboks are fresh from a 21-10 victory over Scotland.

Wood will start his first game since a foot injury picked up during England’s tumultuous World Cup campaign, and the Northampton Saints flanker is not fazed by South Africa’s power.

“James Haskell says that playing the South Africans is like a man test,” Woods told BBC Sport.

“They look for your biggest guy and get theirs to run at him as hard as he can.

“If you show any fear and back off to any extent you’ve got a long day at the office. You have to match it head on.”

“With the physical challenge that is coming there has got to be an element of that.

“That would definitely be something I would look to bring to the team. I’m combative and abrasive and I like to get stuck in.”

England squad to face South Africa:

Forwards: Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), David Wilson (Bath Rugby); David Paice (London Irish), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers); Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Tom Palmer (London Wasps), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers); James Haskell (London Wasps), Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Alex Goode (Saracens), Chris Ashton (Saracens), Brad Barritt (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (London Irish), Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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