Wood demands intensity from England
England captain Tom Wood has steeled his men for a "blood and thunder" encounter against Argentina as they look to seal the Test series 2-0.
Wood felt England delivered one of their best performances in recent times in defeating the Pumas 32-3 in Salta last weekend. But with Argentina promising a passionate backlash at the Velez Sarsfield, Wood has demanded England hit them with the same intensity and carve off a small slice of history.
It is 32 years since England last won a Test series in Argentina and they have never done it with a clean sweep of victories. "We recognise a massive hurdle awaits us," Wood said.
"The Argentinians have got their backs against the wall. They are suffering from a bit of hurt pride and everything feels on a grander scale this week. I fully expect it will be a blood and thunder Test match.
"I think people looked upon that last Test as an easy victory because we pulled away early and seemed to score tries with ease in the first half. It was by no stretch of the imagination an easy victory.
"They were very good. They tackled hard, they ran hard and got the offloads in early. It was our defence that nullified them and after 15 minutes I felt they were looking around thinking 'we can't crack them'.
"It was our intensity, the big hits we put in early, which set the tone of the game. Had we not done that, the game would have been very different. I felt that was as good as we have been in a long while. If we don't do the same this week - if we go in with expectations of an easy ride - then the outcome will be very different."
The England management want the game to be the blood and thunder showdown Wood predicted - and they want their young squad to head home on Sunday having come through a severe test of character.
"England have a chance to win a Test series here outright for the first time and it should be tough," said interim forwards coach Rob Baxter. "I would be a little disappointed if it wasn't because I think that is the whole point of coming here, to get this group of players to face some tough challenges.
"This game is set up nicely for that challenge. The tour has gone well and it has built towards a moment which will decide its success or failure. That is the way it should be. I am hoping it is blood and thunder and it takes a while for us to come through. I hope we come through a severe test and this group are better players for it."