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Premiership Rugby

Transcript from Clive Woodward Interview

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Andrew Titheridge: Clive 36 hours after a momentous England Victory, when you look back on it, it was something special.

Clive Woodward: 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.

AT: At one stage there were 13 English players on the pitch and 15 All Blacks, the English defence was absolutely heroic, the skipper Martin Johnson, who was made Zurich Man of the Match, was just outstanding.

CW: 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 ten minutes, and in fairness to the New Zealand commentators watching the game, they just said they had never seen anything like that in that ten 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 three nil, against the top All Black side, it was just an immense 10 minutes of rugby.

AT: Now England cited Ali Williams for stamping on Josh Lewsey and I have to say  from the video it’s so obvious, and yet 24 hours later the guy is let off, this surely is nonsense?

CW: 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 officers 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 scott 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 two games and 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 scott 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?

AT: If it had been the other way round, do think that we would have got away with it?

CW: We would probably be all in Wellington now, locked up (laughs). Martin Johnson a couple of years ago had fisty cuffs 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.

AT: Are you going to leave it there Clive?

CW: I have got hold of the Rugby Union and I have asked them to get involved, you know I have to continue coaching the team and concentrate on coaching the game this weekend 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 cant 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.

AT: An easy day today for the players? They worked rather hard at the weekend.

CW: 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 game against Wales and Ireland. They will be getting ready for some light training tomorrow and it will be the last game of the season and we are looking forward to it, its all about getting the team very, very fresh so we wont be doing a lot this week.


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