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Wood warns England to stay focused

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.


From Belfast Telegraph