Wounded Wallabies worry Woodward - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wounded Wallabies worry Woodward

By Paul Mulvey 02/10/2003 05:23:00 AM Comments (0)

Tournament favourite England flew out of Heathrow for the rugby World Cup with coach Clive Woodward insisting the underachieving Australia was still the team to beat.

The English land in Perth on Friday morning as the world's No.1 ranked team but Woodward said he was wary of the Wallabies, despite a poor past 12 months in which the defending champions have lost to Ireland, England, South Africa and New Zealand.

"I've said all along that Australia are the team to watch. They've won two World Cups before, they are the current holders, they're playing at home and know how to win," Woodward said.

"They are an outstanding team with a proven track record.

"This is a one-off tournament and the Wallabies have a great group of players. They are the team to beat, it's as simple as that."

Despite the enormous mismatch of their opening game against featherweight Georgia at Subiaco Oval on October 12, Woodward claimed he and the players were thinking of nothing but the amateurs from the former Soviet state.

They weren't even looking ahead to the second pool match against South Africa.

Woodward said talk of England's surge to the top of world rankings with wins over Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and its grand slam of the Six Nations was irrelevant.

"That's all history. The bottom line is, eight o'clock on Sunday week against Georgia, that's how we're going to be measured," he said.

"We're focussing on our next game and that's Georgia, then we'll look forward to South Africa."

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