Tom Wood looks set to start for England at openside against South Africa on Saturday with Marland Yarde and Jonny May due to take the two wing berths.
Wood last played for England in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and was out of the picture when Eddie Jones first took the job. But after Jones compared the Northampton back-row to ‘Samson’ and ‘Rambo’ in recent days, Wood looks to have taken advantage of England’s openside injury crisis.
James Haskell, Jack Clifford, Mike Williams and Sam Jones – all contenders for the No.7 shirt – are all sidelined so Wood looks set to be given the No.7 shirt for Saturday’s match with Teimana Harrison released back to the Saints.
Uncapped Wasps’ No.8 Nathan Hughes has also been retained in England’s 25-man squad and he should make his debut from the bench.
Elsewhere in the pack, England are continuing to monitor second-row Courtney Lawes’ fitness ahead of Saturday’s match and have retained Dave Attwood and Josh Beaumont in the 25-man squad. If Lawes is passed fit then he is likely to start in the second-row with Joe Launchbury.
In the backs Jones has released Semesa Rokoduguni back to Bath which means Yarde and May are the only two out-and-out wingers retained in the squad.
Ben Te’o could make his debut from the bench but it depends on whether Jones opts for a 6-2 split between forwards and backs among the replacements or if he goes for an additional back.
Forwards (15): J Beaumont (Sale Sharks), D Attwood (Bath Rugby), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), J George (Saracens), D Hartley (Northampton Saints), N Hughes (Wasps), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton Saints), J Marler (Harlequins), C Robshaw (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Taylor (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), T Wood (Northampton Saints).
Backs (10): M Brown (Harlequins), D Care (Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens) , G Ford (Bath Rugby), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), J May (Gloucester Rugby), B Te’o (Worcester Warriors), M Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18001965/tom-wood-line-start-england-south-africa
Wood in line to start against South Africa
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