Wood out of Ireland clash
England flanker Tom Wood has been ruled out of his country¿s final World Cup warm-up clash against Ireland on Saturday.
Last Updated: 26/08/11 4:33pm
England flanker Tom Wood has been ruled out of his country's final World Cup warm-up clash against Ireland on Saturday.
The Northampton player had been due to start on the bench for the Test at Aviva Stadium but will not be able to take part due to a "mild calf strain".
Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer takes Wood's place in a replacements lists that now includes two second-row specialists, with Simon Shaw also included.
The injury to Wood stretches England's current back-row options even further as captain Lewis Moody is also absent and team manager Martin Johnson has opted for just five specialist loose forwards in his 30-man World Cup squad.
"Tom wants to play and he's annoyed that he's not playing but where we are and where we are going, it's the right call for him not to play," Johnson said.
England are also monitoring the fitness of number eight Nick Easter, who is understood to have had a scan on a suspected tight calf, although he is expected to play.
Johnson views the Ireland game as the perfect launch-pad for England's campaign in New Zealand, which begins against Argentina on September 10.
Five months ago, England had their Grand Slam dreams wrecked by Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, and for once they don't have to wait long for a chance of revenge.
"It is a good opportunity to come back and do it," said Johnson. "We don't have to wait two years. It is a lot of the same people involved who are coming back to have a crack.
"We want to go out and have a bloody good game of rugby tomorrow - tough, skilful, fast - to get us as battle-hardened as we can be for the first World Cup pool game.
"We have said all along we are not treating these as warm-up games."
Johnson has told his players to focus solely on the game in Dublin and not hold anything back for the World Cup.
"You don't win World Cups by thinking about World Cups," said Johnson. "You have got to forget about the World Cup even when you are playing in it. How you handle it is a huge part of it."