Wood heartbroken over defeat
March 21, 2011
England flanker Tom Wood claims a line-out © Getty Images
England may have celebrated their Six Nations success on Saturday but Tom Wood said he "felt like I'd had my heart ripped out" after Ireland ended their hopes of a Grand Slam at the final hurdle.
Test rookie Wood suffered a loss for the first time in and England shirt in Dublin and the 24-year-old played down the experience he had gained in defeat, saying "we didn't come here for scars and lessons".
The Northampton flanker was one of the finds of the tournament, a real success story in the back row of an England side that won the Six Nations title for the first time in eight years.
But that achievement counted for little and the medals, collected on Saturday night before the official dinner in Dublin, were scant consolation after England had been thumped 24-8.
Wood excelled in England's victories over Wales, Italy, France and Scotland but Martin Johnson's young side crumbled in the face of a relentless Irish onslaught.
"It pretty much felt like I'd had my heart ripped out because the Grand Slam was there for us and we just weren't good enough," said Wood. "We didn't come here for scars and lessons, we came here for a Grand Slam but we got it wrong and it's a bitter pill to swallow.
"We got caught cold really which is pretty unacceptable at this level against a quality team like that. They were under a lot of pressure but fair play to them, they came out and delivered.
"Individually we weren't good enough, collectively we weren't good enough and we have to take that on the chin.
"It is really disappointing to have done all the hard work, to have played well for the most part and ground out some good wins, then come over here and just let it slip with relative ease. We were never really in that game and that's what hurts the most. We didn't give ourselves a chance.
"I would imagine we will remember this game more than the four victories. The losses hurt and you remember the mistakes you made more than the things you did well, the tries and the positives. We will have to learn from it because we will have another chance at some stage and we owe them one now."
England were outplayed in every facet of the game at the Aviva Stadium and left shellshocked by an Ireland side who tore into them from the outset. It was a brutal lesson for England's young team about the intensity an international team can produce if they are desperate and hungry enough.
"It felt like we were rabbits in the headlights. We just couldn't stop their momentum. We know we have to be better," Wood said.
England cannot afford to wallow in the frustration of the defeat but must, however difficult it may be, turn these emotions into a driving force.
The squad need look no further than the likes of Johnson, Mike Tindall and Jonny Wilkinson for inspiration. They all experienced multiple Grand Slam failures before sealing the deal in 2003.
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