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Woodward – ‘Win over NZ would be step towards greatness’

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Q: "Clive – great start to the tour. The match against the Maori was a very good win."

Clive Woodward: "From my point of view it's very interesting to see the Zurich Premiership players go head-to-head with the Super 12 players. Forward-wise we were on top and this has sent a few shock waves around New Zealand. No-one expected us to win and they are pretty hacked off. It was great to see so many individual players play so well in very hostile conditions."

Q: "You selected the side that won England the Grand Slam – was it always your intention or did you consider resting some players?"

CW: "The biggest thing was that the team having won the Grand Slam wanted to come here – it would have been very easy for them to put their feet up and say that's that. I reminded them that if we wanted to move onto something better and to become a great team, we have to come to New Zealand and beat them. The boys wanted to come and beat New Zealand in their own back garden and I can't praise Martin Johnson enough for his rallying call to come over here and do it. This is a colossal game for England on Saturday and it is also a colossal game for New Zealand and if the team could win on Saturday night, the team can move on with confidence to bigger things at the end of the year."

Q: "They're passionate about their rugby here and no-one has given England a chance, this is probably to England's advantage."

CW: "You never beat the All Blacks, you just score more points than them. Amazingly, we had been written off before Monday night and nobody has given us a chance this weekend, although they are worried. They take such store in their Super 12's and these are world-class players playing in the Super 12, but the players in the Zurich Premiership are playing very, very well. It will be a great match for all sorts of reasons – it's a huge game for England and I can't compliment the players enough for fronting up and putting the Grand Slam behind us and moving on to bigger and greater things, we are all looking forward to it."

Q: "Brand new Stadium, but the weather conditions are not looking great."

CW: "I think the rain will stop but I think that it will be a bit windy. It's a brand new stadium, the pitch is fantastic but it's designed to cut out the wind, so I think that it will be a great night. The conditions don't suit us, we play at our best indry conditions and we really want to take this team on, that's our aim."


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