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Clive Woodward on the team for Georgia

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AT: That is the strongest England side, is it wise to put out the top team?

CW: In the back of my mind we have always been planning it this way ever since we saw the draw, the majority of those players have only played one game in four months, so it has gone according to plan. I am just delighted that we can pick our strongest team and that we have no injury worries at all so I can pick from 30 players. Some of the players, Dallaglio and Vickery haven’t even played one game in four months because they missed the game against France, so it was important for the whole tournament that we started strong with arguably England’s strongest team at the moment, but a lot can happen and we will certainly use the replacements at the weekend. Looking forward to see Kryan Bracken and Iain Balshaw and they are pushing hard to get in the starting fifteen. But fundamentally it’s the same team that finished against Australia in the summer with the exception of switching Dawson and Bracken.

AT: It does seem an awful long time since those three warm up games, so the players must be really itching to play?

CW: We spoke about this a long time ago, you can talk about leaving players out, injuries, but at the end of the day it’s a World Cup and we are over here to play in it. That’s what we have always planned, we have trained very, very hard, we have taken a lot of time to ensure that we have not had injuries during training and they are now ready for a hit out. And it’s going to be a tough game against Georgia but it’s a game that England should win. We saw them play against Italy and they should have beaten them, and Italy are in the Six Nations. So it’s a great match for England a week before we play South Africa and I can promise you if we left any player out for any other reason outside merit it would have caused too much internal problems and we just have to get on with it and if you say that we are starting with our strongest team, and that is what we have done.

AT: You put Jason Robinson in at Fullback the last time we were over here and Josh Lewsey on the wing, might you swap them round again this time?

CW: I don’t think that we did, Robinson was playing with Number 11 and Lewsey played at 15, we just switched them round during the game for certain tactical reasons but here again it is a discussion that always makes me smile they both, along with Ben Cohen, if you watch the game very closely they will sometimes start at fullback or sometimes start at wing depending on what we are doing, and depending on who we are playing against. We are very lucky that we have got three players there in Lewsey, Robinson and Cohen that can play wing or fullback. Same with Balshaw, who will definitely run out this weekend, he is very strong, he had a great game against France in early September, and we have a very strong bench as well here.

AT: Will everybody get a game here or might there be players who will go through the whole World Cup without a game?

CW: I never want to put myself in a corner over selection, but we have a very strong squad now and I would like to think that we would be prepared to use every member of the 30 party, it is a strong team and we have proven that in terms of the games against France in Marseille and the Maoris that our so called second team can front up to anybody. You know I would be disappointed if everybody in the 30 didn’t get a start in one of these Pool games.


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