Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Wood warns England to stay focused

Tom Wood made his Test debut in Cardiff two years ago

Tom Wood warned England not to be spooked by the pre-match "sideshow" at the Millennium Stadium ahead of Saturday's Grand Slam showdown with Wales.

Wood remembers being unsettled by the antics and the noise which disrupted England's warm-up before his Test debut in Cardiff two years ago.

"There is a lot of sideshow before the game," Wood said. "There is a lot of noise. You have your side of the field to warm up on and there are often bands playing and an awful lot going on. It can be a little bit unsettling at times."

He continued: "I don't know if it is a deliberate ploy to try and unsettle your warm-up routine or if it is because there is a confined space and they are looking to get as much going on as possible.

"I remember my debut and the noise and atmosphere in the warm-up made it very difficult to hear the guy two yards away from you. The simple warm-up drills we do were very difficult.

"I was worried about the game. I was thinking, 'If I can't hear this in these tight spaces and simple plays, how am I going to understand the complicated stuff and get messages back and forwards in the lineout?'

"Once the game kicks off the crowd settle down. It wasn't as bad as I anticipated but it can rock you before a game if you are not aware of it. We have addressed it in our meeting."

Apart from the warm-up, Wood has happy memories of his debut at the Millennium Stadium and he would relish a repeat of England's 26-19 victory that day.

"Hopefully we can do something like that again," Wood said.

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