Tom Wood needs to fire again if England are to beat New Zealand - Fitzpatrick

Last Updated: 14/11/13 9:51pm

Tom Wood's performance was crucial as England beat New Zealand 38-21 at Twickenham last year, and Sean Fitzpatrick believes he could be the man to show them the way once again.

"He had a man of the match performance against New Zealand last year, so he knows what it takes," said Fitzpatrick on the Rugby Club.

"He has a real belief in his own ability and he is the sort of player you want to have in your team. He has a little bit of that mongrel dog in him. He showed last year what it takes to beat this All Blacks team.

"He led from the front and players like Courtney Lawes, like Chris Robshaw need to follow him with that sort of attitude - to knock the All Blacks off their stride. It won't be easy though."

Phil Vickery agrees and says Wood is the type of player that will inspire those around him.

"Wood has become this talisman for England, he is a player that people want to follow. They look up to him and he inspires them.

"He has grown from what has happened last year - he has grown even more from what happened in March this year against Wales. There is more and more pressure on him but he seems like he is enjoying it and he just gets on with his job. Good luck to him."

The Reid factor

Wood will have to play out of his skin because he is up against a formidable back row that includes Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

"Read is the most improved player this year; for me without question he has been the world player of the year," added Fitzpatrick.

"He has become a really good leader too and does not make too many mistakes. Three or four years ago he was a really good player; now he is a world class player because he has really worked hard on his game. He does so many good things, he makes the right decisions - he is just a fantastic All Black."

There has been a lot of talk this week about New Zealand looking for revenge, but Fitzpatrick says revenge is not their main motivation.

"This All Blacks team learnt a lot from that defeat 12 months ago. They will not be talking about revenge, they will be talking about delivering a performance that is a lot better than the one that they delivered a year ago.

"England played really well in the first half against Argentina, they did the simple things very well and were very aggressive - but then they just drifted off the pace in the second half.

"We talk about concentration, execution, making the right decisions and I just think that England struggled with that. Why are the All Blacks so good at the moment? Because they execute so well and they make the right decisions individually."