England have been handed a much needed boost ahead of their must-win Rugby World Cup encounter with Australia with the news that Tom Wood has not been cited for his accidental kick on Liam Williams and will be free to play in the Twickenham showdown.
Williams was carried off on a stretcher after Wood’s boot connected with his head as the flanker went for a loose ball, and the full-back is currently an injury doubt with suspected concussion.
Wood has since apologised for the incident that forced Williams out of the match – which Wales went on to win in breath-taking fashion 28-25 – as he took to Twitter to messages Williams directly.
Wood tweeted: @SanjayWills really relieved to hear ur back on ur feet ok mate.Horrible to see u stretchered off because of me.Hope u hav a speedy recovery [sic].
@SanjayWills really relieved to hear ur back on ur feet ok mate.Horrible to see u stretchered off because of me.Hope u hav a speedy recovery; Tom Wood (@tomwood678) September 26, 2015
With injury doubts already surrounding No 8s Billy Vunipola and Ben Morgan, England could ill-afford to lose Wood to suspension and leave them with a back-row crisis. Had Wood been ruled out of the match and with James Haskell possibly needed at No 8, there had been suggestions that Sam Burgess would be switch from inside centre to blindside flanker – the position he has been playing in for club side Bath.
Wood has been warned over the incident, but the match citing commissioner, Maurizio Vancini, decided that it equated to a yellow card, meaning he will be available for selection for Saturday’s encounter with the unbeaten Wallabies.
Wood expressed his genuine remorse for the incident after the match, and visited the Wales changing room to check Williams was alright where he was reassured by the full-back's teammates - as Williams was in the shower at the time.
"The outcome was not something I intended obviously. It's something I'm not proud of, but there was no intent there," Wood said the following day.
"Would I have done anything differently? Probably not because the ball was bouncing at my feet and I was at full tilt looking for the ball. It was unfortunate I caught him sweet with the shin.
"It's hard to watch when someone is in that condition on the floor. We all take our turn at that. I'm sorry for the outcome 100 per cent. I'm told he's on his feet and moving around as normal which is quite a relief.
"He was in the shower when I went into Wales' changing room, but I caught up with a few of their players and they assured me he was on his feet and feeling better and moving around OK.
"That's a huge relief because there's an element of guilt there. It wasn't intentional and I hate to see a player leave the field that way."Reuse content