Wood stakes claim
Saints flanker Tom Wood admits his biggest challenge is to keep a cool head on the pitch.
Last Updated: 28/12/11 1:35pm
Tom Wood admits his biggest challenge on the pitch is to keep a cool head as he looks to advance his claims on the England captaincy.
The Northampton flanker was one of just a few players to emerge from the World Cup review with any credit, despite only playing in the minor group games against Georgia and Romania.
The 25-year-old forward is sure to be one of the first names on new head coach Stuart Lancaster's teamsheet for the Six Nations opener against Scotland on February 4.
He could also be the next man to wear the captain's armband despite recent dispiclinary issues that have seen him pick up red and yellow cards this month.
And Wood admits his commitment to the cause can sometimes see him overstep the mark.
"The intensity and aggression comes naturally to me," he said. "I like being involved and love what I do.
"If anything I have to temper my aggression levels a little bit. I've been caught out in the past for getting into scraps and things like that.
"At this level and in the modern game you can't get away with stuff like that. But it comes naturally to me and if anything it's about keeping a cool head.
"Some people bang their head against the wall. I don't. I wouldn't even warm up if I had the choice."
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder certainly feels that a highly successful 2012 awaits the reigning Aviva Premiership player of the year.
"If anybody is seeing the way Tom is playing, he's putting his hand up for England, if not to captain them," said Mallinder. "The discipline is not an issue. When he plays he sets a tremendous example."