Wood fit to play some role in Cardiff

Date published: February 8 2017

England flanker Tom Wood will be involved against Wales in Cardiff, although whether he starts or not remains to be seen.

Wood missed training on Tuesday after leaving Twickenham with his arm in a sling following the win over France last Saturday.

“Tom’s hurt his shoulder and is in modified training to protect him, but he’s still up for selection this weekend,” defence coach Paul Gustard said.

“Wednesday evening is when we meet to make our final selection calls. That’s when we’ll decide what is our best 23.”

England opted to let Teimana Harrison return to Northampton Saints despite being on the bench last weekend but retained Harlequins back-row Jack Clifford.

Should Wood be unable to start then Clifford is seemingly next in line to start, with James Haskell still regaining match fitness after being sidelined with both a toe injury and concussion.

Clifford featured regularly off the bench for England in their run to last year’s Grand Slam.

“We’ve got a few options. Whichever back row we go for in the end will be competitive and we think will be the right 23 for Wales,” Gustard added.

“Obviously Tom’s got a lot of caps, but I think it’s important, as we’ve said from February 2016, that week by week we’ll pick the best 23 for the next game.

“We said last week about Maro, the number on your back puts you in a certain position at the set piece.

“After that you’re a rugby player and for anyone in the back five of the scrum that means tackling, cleaning out and for some of them to carry.

“Jack can do all those things whether he’s got a six, seven or eight on his back.”

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