Club captain Tom Wood has said that the re-call into the England squad for the upcoming Autumn Internationals was a hope that he never gave up on and that his efforts to knuckle-down here at Saints were ultimately what earned him a spot back in the squad.
After picking up his last England cap over a year ago during the disappointing 2016 Rugby World Cup campaign, Wood was overlooked by new head coach Eddie Jones up until recently.
Injury set-backs for Jones’ squad and Wood’s hard work at club level brought the flanker back into International contention and the back row is currently training with England in Portugal.
“I wasn’t particularly anticipating a call,” Wood told EnglandRugby.com.
“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I’m ambitious and a competitor and I always wanted to be back here at some point.
"I just knew that my only route back was to get my head down for Northampton. The door is ajar for me now, I’ve got my foot through it and I’ve got to train really well and show what I’m about.
“Hopefully I can put my best foot forward and do myself justice.”
As England come into face South Africa on Saturday 12th November, a side who are unbeaten in the last 12 encounters between the two countries, Wood, who was brought into the squad for Wasps’ injured James Haskell, is confident that the England side can end that run at Twickenham in the Old Mutual Wealth Series opener.
“Myself and James [Haskell] have played in the same back-row and we’ve been in competition for the same shirt at times but there’s no reason why I can’t fulfil a role in the back-row.
“We were a point or two shy a couple of years back against South Africa and we’ve had some real nail biting and tough games against them.
“I’ve never felt like they have just been too good for us, it’s about the fine margins on the day and we’re well capable of reversing that if we get things right.”