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Tom Wood says England need to be wary of a passionate Argentina

Tom Wood has urged his England team-mates to beware of Argentina's passion in Saturday's showdown at Twickenham.

The Grand Slam champions are seeking to extend their winning run to 13 Tests while the Pumas need victory to give them the best possible chance of avoiding inclusion in a tortuous pool at the 2019 World Cup.

Wood led England twice against Argentina in 2013 when Chris Robshaw was rested and knows the value of the spirit they bring to a match.

"Their passion is still relevant. Rugby isn't chess and you can't take emotion out of it. Emotion and that level of passion counts for an awful lot," Wood said.

"Emotion can bridge a gap between teams because that level of physicality and desperation, pride and togetherness is a leveller and can make it a very tough game.

"You've got to match that and bring a level of intensity too. There are technical things that you can do to take the sting out of it - for example you can put kicks in behind and not allow them to engage.

"If you provide them with a static target to hit when all of that passion and power is brimming early doors after the anthems, then maybe that will play into their hands.

"Emotion is really big. Obviously it is also about how you use it because equally it can get the better of you to the point that you're so fired up you miss the obvious things.

"It's definitely a weapon that you can use and it can also work against you if you get it wrong."

Wood has fought his way back into the England fold this autumn to make his first appearances under Eddie Jones and the Northampton captain is content focusing on playing alone having been part of Stuart Lancaster's leadership group.

"I don't mind being a foot soldier and not a leader. I'm happy being a foot solider," Wood said.

"That's kind of the definition of an openside - get your head down, work, chase rucks, chase kicks and get stuck in.

"You put your body on the line and that's what I do best. I'm more than happy doing that.

"I'm not trying to be a leader, I'm not afraid to say things and to mention things when I think that it's important but I'm not crying out to be known as a leader."


From Belfast Telegraph