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Angry Woodward slams Williams verdict

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Blues lock was summoned to a quickfire hearing by Australian independent citing commissioner Michael Somes, but after pleading not guilty to the stamping charge was not punished, with the panel chaired by Michael Goodwin (Australia), with Bruce Squire QC (New Zealand) and Mattie Blackburn (New Zealand) also on it.

A furious Woodward told www.zurichpremiership.com after the hearing verdict that he has asked for further intervention from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) on the matter, saying: "I have got hold of the Rugby Union [RFU] and I have asked them to get involved.

"I have to continue coaching the team and concentrate on coaching the game this weekend [against Australia] and I am sure that all the people back at Twickenham can see it, and I am sure Sky are showing it as well.

"I just want an explanation, there is nothing more that I can say. I can't get involved with it, apart from doing things like this to bring it to their attention that we are not happy as a group of players, when a player gets his head badly trampled on."

The incident occured at a second-half ruck, but was missed by referee Stuart Dickinson, as well as Irish touch judge Alan Lewis, who was in close attendance.

Speaking of the procedures that led to Williams' appearance at the discipliary hearing, Woodward said: "First of all we don’t cite him, what you have is a citing officer and he goes through all the tapes and he decides whether to cite someone or not.

"What they do is they ask me if there is any particular incident that I want them to look at and they said about that particular incident it has already been cited.

"You don't have to bring it to anyone's attention it was there on the television, its already been seen. There is nothing more we can do, all we can do is bring incidents to the citing officer's attention, so that was the only incident in the game.

"And I have obviously seen all the tapes of it and he has obviously got off scot-free, which is just wrong in my opinion, and you would be a lot happier if you had had a clear explanation from the citing officer QC why he gets absolutely nothing!

"We have got Danny Grewcock sitting at home who threw a few punches at Lawrence Dallaglio which isn't going to hurt anyone really – he has not made the trip and has got banned.

"The guy stamps on someone's head and the incident was nasty, the cuts to Lewsey's head are bad, and this guy gets off scot-free with no explanation, and I would like to find out why, what did they find out from the video that made it an unpunishable offence?"

Asked whether he thought an England player would have got away with the same offence, Woodward joked: "We would probably be all in Wellington now, locked up.

"Martin Johnson a couple of years ago had fisticuffs in a club game over here a couple of years ago, you would have thought he had created grievous bodily harm on the streets, it was a massive over reaction.

"There is a bit of a feeling, particularly within the players, that there is one rule for everyone else and one rule for the English, and that is how we feel, and for him to get nothing and not even a statement from New Zealand I think is poor."

On England's way to their 15-13 win they survived a spell early in the second half with 13 men after the sin-binnings of Neil Back and Lawrence Dallaglio, with Woodward hailing the performance of captain Martin Johnson during that backs-against-the-wall part of the game.

"If any rugby player wants to see a role-model, that 10 minutes from Martin Johnson saw Johnson at his absolute best. It wasn't the case of 'oh crikey we are going to concede some points here'. He just stepped it up, if that was possible.

"For that 10 minutes, and in fairness to the New Zealand commentators watching the game, they just said they had never seen anything like that in that 10-minute spell from Johnson, he was just inspirational, it's the only word that you can say and he thought every scrum and line-out through.

"We tactically played that 10 minutes very, very well, and with Wilkinson putting three points over, we played with 13 men and won it 3-0, against the top All Black side. It was just an immense 10 minutes of rugby."

On the impact of the win, Woodward added: "It was something special given the stage of the season we were at, everyone is very, very tired, and it was a bit like the Ireland game, it was a must win game.

"It didn't matter how we got there we had to win that game for all the right reasons. And to not play that well technically but to win with a huge team effort was enthralling and sets us up for the rest of the year. I am very pleased and now we can just focus on Australia at the weekend."

Woodward's weary charges must now ready themselves for that tricky Test against the world champions in Sydney, and the coach said of his Monday itinerary ahead of that clash: "There is never an easy day, I'll do a lot of recovery but there is no actual training.

"It is very important that this 24 to 48 hours after a game, that we do pool and gym work, going through the videos again and the videos of the Australia games against Wales and Ireland.

"They will be getting ready for some light training tomorrow [Tuesday] and it will be the last game of the season.

"We are looking forward to it, it's all about getting the team very, very fresh so we wont be doing a lot this week," he said.


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