While Saints were going two from two in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Saints players Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Tom Wood were helping England to end their 10-year drought against South Africa with a convincing 37-21 win at Twickenham.
Saints’ players were vital in England’s win with the skipper Hartley and Wood proving important forces at the breakdown and Lawes scoring a try while collecting his 50th cap for his country.
On his return to the England squad, Wood said told Russell Hargreaves of the English Rugby Podcast that to break the losing streak against the Springboks was an important result as England begin their Old Mutual Wealth Series in the Autumn International period.
“It was brilliant to get that monkey off our back after 10 years; that was important to us,” Wood commented.
“I’ve never beaten South Africa personally so that was good and I think overall it was a pretty good performance, pretty positive, a pretty convincing win but we’re still a little frustrated that we left a fair few points out there.
“There’s plenty to work on, it’s only the first game of four so we won’t be getting carried away but obviously you’ve got to enjoy your wins.
“I think we felt really prepared for the game. We’ve had a couple of weeks build up and the leaders in the team, the control men, the half-backs, really took charge and we felt calm and composed.”
Wood said that to come back into the England fold and take to the field with Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola was something he enjoyed but that he treated the game like any other.
“We’ve always worked well as a duo. I enjoy playing alongside Chris, and alongside Billy too.
“To have Nathan Hughes coming off the bench is a massive impact for us. But it was business as usual really, we just worked hard and chased the ball. “
After heart-break against South Africa for 10 years, Wood was happy that England could put the whole ordeal to bed and get the win in the way they wanted.
“I’ve never felt that South Africa have been so far away and above and better than us.
“They’ve always been tough games, they’ve been nail-biting games with a point or two in it and it’s been about small margins.
“It’s frustrating that over all that time we’ve just been on the wrong side of those so it’s great to get a convincing win under our belts today and put that one to bed.”
With Eddie Jones already thinking about his selection as England take on Fiji next weekend, Wood said the whatever Jones’ decision he will accept it and was quick to praise Saints teammate Teimana Harrison as a worth replacement should Jones make that choice.
“There’s so many good players. I play alongside the likes of Teimana every week and he’s frustrated to have gone home.
“He’s a great player with lots of potential and I’m sure he’s got a lot of England caps ahead of him. There’s loads of combinations Eddie could go for and we’ll just take selection as it comes.
“We’re pleased with the result today but there’s plenty to work on and I’m sure we’ll hear all about it on Monday and Tuesday.”