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Premiership Rugby

Woodman to keep focused on Fanolua

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The two 'Cherry and White' men are great friends, but they will be putting happy Kingsholm memories to one side when they line up against each other at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

Samoa are top of Pool C after impressive wins against Georgia and Uruguay and have a World Cup pedigree that includes wins against Wales, Argentina and Italy in past tournaments.

Cornish prop Woodman insists the big-hitting Islanders won't be underestimated as England attempt to build on their 25-6 win against South Africa.

"Terry Fanolua's a man from a proud nation and his side are top of the group," said Woodman.

"We'll work all week preparing for them and hope we can be on top of the group by the time we get to Sunday, but we know the Samoans are always very good at upsetting people in the World Cup.

"Fanolua's one of our main men at Gloucester when he's defending, and – with the ball in hand – we'll be watching out for that Samoa step.

"It's quite something to see him week-in, week-out with Gloucester and then to play against him in the World Cup.

"It'll be nice to get a chance to run at him if I can get my hands on the ball, but there'll be nothing personal about it – it's just England against Samoa."

Despite beating the Springboks by a 19-point margin, England have come under fire from the media in Australia for the quality of their performance.

South Africa's Joost van der Westhuizen described them as 'vulnerable' and the legality of the team's rolling maul and defence at the ruck have both been labelled as illegal by pundits.

"Everybody has their opinions and they're entitled to them," said England's first-choice loosehead prop.

"We'll worry about what's going on in our own camp. On Saturday we started well for the first 10 minutes and then let it slip and put ourselves under pressure.

"Against Samoa it will be good to get control of the game early on and put them under pressure."


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