Stuart Lancaster’s men currently head the way, but victories for Wales and Ireland could not only apply the pressure, but raise the bar for England’s requirements in beating France.
Add to that the fact that the French themselves are not out of the title hunt altogether and the stage is set for a huge afternoon – something Wood says England won’t be distracted by.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” the flanker told the England Rugby Podcast. “We’re just going to try and dismiss a lot of the hype and all of the technicalities around the game.
“It’s an unusual situation but we’re just going to focus on ourselves and try to avoid the drama. We’re going to have to put in a hell of a performance because we know France will bring their A-game for us.
“Rugby is a funny old game. Strange things can happen and we have to be prepared for whatever French side turns up and to be able to adapt. Form can go out of the window in these situations.”
Having been a huge part of Lancaster’s squad over the past few seasons, a recent injury means the Saintsman also finds himself in the unusual position of providing cover from the bench. It’s a responsibility – while not ideal – that he says can be as important as any other though.
“Coming from the bench is a huge role in international rugby nowadays. The effort and attrition you have to put in for the first half to an hour means you need that engine on the bench that can share the workload.
“It’s not a role I do very often, but one I’m looking forward to. It’s just great to be back in a white shirt.”
(All live on BBC)
Stadio Olimpico, 12:30pm