Ex-coach Woodward slams English rugby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ex-coach Woodward slams English rugby

25/11/2008 09:08:18 AM Comments (0)

Former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward has renewed his criticism of the current national coaching structure following last weekend's "humiliating" Test defeat at the hands of world champions South Africa.

Woodward, who guided England to glory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, branded the 42-6 Twickenham loss, England's heaviest home reverse, "hugely disappointing".

He told the BBC on Monday: "It was a fairly accurate scoreline, so you have to take a step back and look behind the scenes - at the coaching and the management of the team.

"What's happened since 2003? Where has the development of players gone?" added Woodward, who quit his England role the season after their World Cup triumph in protest at what he said was the Rugby Football Union's failure to grant him sufficient time with his squad.

Saturday's defeat came five years to the day since Martin Johnson, now the team manager, captained England to a thrilling World Cup final win over hosts Australia in Sydney.

Woodward, currently the director of elite performance at the British Olympic Association (BOA), has backed Johnson to be a success in his new job.

But the former England and British and Irish Lions centre, who led the Lions on their ill-fated tour of New Zealand in 2005, admitted Monday he'd been taken aback by the scale of this latest defeat.

"I never thought I'd see the day that any team would come to Twickenham and win by 40 points, or put on 40 points," added Woodward.

"These things don't happen by chance, it wasn't a freak result. We seem to be so far off every South African player; I couldn't pick one England player I'd put in the South Africa team - that's a scary thought."

Woodward has repeatedly questioned whether Johnson is getting the right support from the England hierarchy.

In particular, he has been scathing about Rob Andrew, the man who beat him to the post of RFU director of elite rugby and in his praise of the Springboks, who bounced back from a lacklustre 2003 World Cup to beat England in last year's final, could be detected more criticism of the former fly-half.

"They have gone away, regrouped and they were just fantastic at the weekend and it was quite humiliating to be there, to be frank," Woodward said.

England complete their November program of Tests against Tri-Nations champions New Zealand at Twickenham this Saturday.

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