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Premiership Rugby

Clive Woodward update

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

AT: It was a hard, bruising match against Georgia, what are the injury problems?

CW: There were a lot of bumps and bruises but it was just the game we needed in preparation for the South Africa game, some players haven’t played for three months. Overall I was very, very pleased, the only issue is around the scrum-half, where Dawson got a knock and Kyran’s back was playing up before the game and Gomarsall came off limping. As a precaution we have called up Martyn Wood, he is not actually joining the squad, and I must stress that because that is against the World Cup rules, but we have got him coming over to Australia in preparation and we need to make a decision by Thursday. But clearly that decision will be made on Wood being in the actual 22 to play against South Africa. We had to make a quick decision to get him on the first plane out here because of jetlag and safety reasons, and if Wood was going to replace one of those players we would do it by Thursday and then he would be potentially be involved with the game at the weekend. I also spoke to Austin Healey, he was actually devastated as he would have come out next as scrum-half but he pulled a calf muscle warming up for Leicester against Gloucester at the weekend, he was very honest and I appreciate that from Austin, he just said that he would only be fifty fifty for this weekend. So Wood is flying out to Australia, he is not officially joining the squad at the moment, but we will find out the position later on in the week. If Bracken and Dawson are ok, Wood will fly straight back again.

AT: Zurich Premiership club Bath won’t like that as they are currently top of the Zurich Premiership?

CW: Yes, we are obviously following the results back home and Bath have played five and won five, so it has been a great turnaround for them. I am sure that Bath will be delighted for Wood to get his chance, he made a big call to leave London Wasps to go to Bath this season, he is clearly playing well and we are lucky to have him but I had to make a very quick call, I didn’t want to leave it 24 hours, as every 24 hours for getting over jetlag is crucial if we want him to be part of the game this weekend, but we won’t make that decision till Thursday.

AT: Will you ease up on training now that they have all had a game and look in fairly good shape?

CW: That was the plan anyway, I have to say that last night’s game was a little bit more physical than we were expecting and it was played brilliantly well and full credit to the Georgian team who played it absolutely spot on in terms of spirit and endeavour, they never, ever packed in. But we trained very hard going into this game as well, because we wanted to do all the hard work last week. This week now is about tapering down and doing a couple of very light sessions, we are ready for the South Africans now but we needed a good hit out last night which we got and I think with the exception of the scrum-half situation, that we have come through pretty injury free so overall I am pleased. This week is going to be something totally different to last week.

AT: A number of the players write columns for newspapers, and as we are obviously building up for the South Africa game with all violence that occurred at Twickenham, do you sensor what they say or do they have a free reign?

CW: They have a free reign but we have a few ground rules which are just common sense for the guys who write columns and I have no issue with the guys that write columns, if that is what they want to do. Obviously, I don’t want to see in any newspapers anything that we talk about internally, that’s part of being in the team. Also I think that when you are playing against opposition, and it doesn’t matter who you are playing against, it is always about taking the high ground and not getting involved in any controversy or anything that may wind up the opposition camp. That’s all we do, and I think that will be reflected in the columns themselves, they are probably very good columns to read before you go to bed (laughter) and that is probably reflected in what’s actually written by the guys. I think that they do them very well, I obviously read what they put, but I don’t get involved at all, they are very experienced in terms of what to say and what not to say but I don’t like any individual player getting into controversy with the opposition team or any opposition player, that’s how we do and it seems to work very well.

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