Tom Wood insists England must not overreact to the pressure building after succumbing to a fifth successive defeat in Saturday’s 31-28 setback against South Africa.
Seven days after New Zealand departed Twickenham convincing winners, Stuart Lancaster’s men were flattered by the scoreline once again as concerns continue to mount with just 10 games remaining until the launch of next year’s World Cup.
All five losses have been inflicted by the All Blacks and Springboks, the sport’s top two sides, but in the second QBE International England wilted before opponents who performed well below their best.
Team selection, tactics and the dwindling levels of self-belief are being scrutinised closely with head coach Lancaster facing the strongest criticism of his 32-Test reign as head coach.
Lancaster, who has presided over just two victories in 13 meetings with the southern hemisphere heavyweights, has sounded a note of defiance by declaring “we’ll not panic nor lose our nerve nor deviate from the course we’re on”.
It is a bold message shared by Wood as must-win Tests against Samoa and Australia loom on the Twickenham horizon.
“It’s not the end of the world. It’s disappointing to lose in an England shirt and you never want to accept that, particularly at home,” the Northampton flanker said.
“But the fact we have lost by two really close margins in two really competitive games against the two best teams in the world doesn’t mean it’s back to the drawing board and that everyone is on suicide watch.”