Tom Wood has spoken of the ‘honour’, ‘responsibility’ and ‘excitement’ of captaining England on their tour to Uruguay and Argentina.
The Saints flanker has been handed the leadership role by head coach Stuart Lancaster in the absence of Chris Robshaw, who has been given the summer off to rest.
England take on a CONSUR XV in Montevideo this Sunday, before heading off for the serious business of two Test matches against Argentina.
Wood will lead the team out this weekend and against the Pumas on June 8 and 15, and he can’t wait to captain his country.
The Saints man was set to do just that in the 2012 Six Nations - he was put forward as England’s representative for the pre-tournament publicity shots - but a foot injury ruled him out of the campaign.
The honour was instead handed to Robshaw, who has held the role ever since, but now it is Wood’s turn to skipper his nation.
“It is a huge honour and a huge responsibility as well,” said Wood.
“I will go out there and do what I always do, and just be my usual self if I can.
“Hopefully that is going to be enough.
“I am really excited about captaining a young side.
“There is a lot of invention there within the selection, there are some talented players, and there are some guys I am looking forward to getting out on the field with.
“Hopefully we can bounce back from that disappointing Wales defeat, and set ourselves up for a big autumn series.”
Wood was speaking after last Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Final, and at the time he admitted his body was ‘in no shape’ for a tour.
But he joined up with the rest of the England squad on Monday, flew out on Wednesday, by which time he was recovered and ready for action.
Wood’s foot injury last year meant, as well as missing the Six Nations, he couldn’t go on England’s tour to South Africa last summer.
And he admitted: “I am not going to have much rest, but I would much prefer that to the year I had last year.”