England not the real deal yet – Woodward


Woodward, the coach when England won the 2003 World Cup, said that they would have lost to the All Blacks had they played them this year. “Winning teams crack the whip in victory even more than in defeat and analyse why they are winning, always trying to raise the bar inch by inch in every part of their game,” the coach said.

“Everybody in the England camp will know that if that had been New Zealand on Saturday the game [Australia] would have been lost after 20 minutes,” he said.

Woodward also had a warning for England when saying the World Cup was still three years away, and that was a tournament where all competing teams arrived ready and prepared for the challenge. That hadn't been the case with England's opponents during their November programme.

He also fired a shot at the administration of the game in England warning them that there was no time for patting themselves on the back after four sell-out games at Twickenham. They needed to be thinking about all that occurred before coach Eddie Jones's appointment after last year's whiteout at the World Cup.

They needed to analyse “why and how did they mess up so spectacularly”, he said. “Why were two totally inexperienced coaches at this level - Martin Johnson and Stuart Lancaster - appointed to the biggest job in world rugby and left steering the ship between 2008 and 2015 with little or no real help or guidance - an era when England should have been just as strong and competitive on the world stage as they are now,” he said.

Woodward said that wasn't a criticism of Johnson or Lancaster, it was a question for those who had selected them.

“They were asked to do a job they were not qualified for at that stage of their careers,” he said.

While Jones would be picking apart England's performances on the pitch, Ian Ritchie, the man who appointed Lancaster, should be picking through the administration to document England's failures and to make sure they never happened again.

At the same time, Woodward said he had enjoyed watching England this year and was “massively excited” about the future. The side had become a calm team, a sign of maturity, and they were realising how dangerous they could become on attack.

There was also emerging talent to refresh the group which would encourage the necessary competition.

“There are options and exciting possibilities everywhere and I genuinely believe that this, finally is going to be the start of a new golden era for England. “World rugby needs a strong England team, and at last we can say it has one,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)

Original source: England not the real deal yet - Woodward