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Premiership Rugby

Transcript from Clive Woodward Interview

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Andrew Titheridge: Considering the pressure of that game the other night surprisingly few injuries? Clive Woodward:  Because its test matches players always want to play in the next one, and the knocks and brusies seem to heal quicker than when within the club environment, a knock that might take you out of your next club game, they're  in such a competitive environment they all seem to come through well. Simon Shaw is flying home today, he got a knock in the neck during the Maori game, that is the only serious injury we have had, and he is going back to have a scan on his neck. Everybody will be fit for the weekend and we will go into the game with a very strong team, its going to be a huge night for us. AT: And the referee quite surprisingly is a Northern hemisphere referee, David McHugh, he is much more used to the Zurich Premiership style of play than the Super 12.That must benefit England, doesnt it?: CW: I don't think so, the international referees now are pretty much as one in the style that they referee the game, whereever you are. I think there is a difference between the Zurich Premiersip and the Super 12, but when we have had the same referee that has referred those games in England they have all been fine to be fair. We have the meetings beforehand and the referees have been fine, the thing that worries me is the touch judges. They have a huge role to play and again there was a bad incident the other weekend and the touch judge missed it. So they have a big role to play, but we have no problem with David McHugh, the Australian media will put him under pressure as they normally do which are normal tactics the week before the game, I am sure he is big enough to handle the various taunts he will get in the press. AT: It's a great stadium, the roof can be open or closed, do you think that the team would prefer the roof open or closed? CW: It's not down to the team, it's down to me, I'd rather have it shut and I am very clear about that. It's surprising you get labelled with all sorts of things over hear when your English, they seem to think that we want to play in wet conditions. We don't, this team plays better in perfect conditions. So I came over here about a month ago in preparation for the World Cup and they asked me then, and I said I wanted it shut. If you have got a roof, lets use it and play in perfect conditions. I think that they were a bit taken a back by that. So we will play with the roof shut and thats great because we know it will be perfect condidtions, we are very happy about that. AT: Clive do you get the choice whether its open or closed. CW: Apparently. I don't quite know the protocol, but both players and coaches are meant to agree, they want it shut, I want it shut, so its going to be shut. The atmosphere will be great, it will be a big game, but even now the players with conditions being very, very poor and would be very difficult to play a test match in. Though now whilst they may train in the rain this week, we know come Saturday night will be perfect. This is a very skilful and powerful England team, and this is why I find it very amusing that people don't understand that we want to play on a fast track so now we can go and play on a pitch with no wind and no wet will be excellent, and I am really looking forward to it. 


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