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Premiership Rugby

Woodward shrugs off England ‘arguments’

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Bok forwards put in a furious first-half performance and England's pack had a fair bit of trouble producing decent ball.

After a series of England turnovers, wheeled scrums and general poor ball presentation, the whole watching world saw scrum-half Kyran Bracken explode in frustration and berate his forwards for their sloppy service.

"I read those South African comments that they were very happy because the English players were arguing with each other," Woodward told zurichpremiership.com.

"I have spoken to the players and apparently that was very quiet to how we normally are, we have a lot of vocals in the team and they do kick-off, it starts in training and it certainly kicks off in the Test matches.

"So even the players thought it was amusing because they thought they were quite quiet on Saturday. I just think it is all fantastic, and we just need to sit back and keep winning the games and let all the headlines keep coming our way."

England are now stationed in Melbourne ahead of their match against Samoa on Sunday, and Woodward is expecting yet another bruising encounter.

"I am worried about Samoa, I worry about all the games we play. But England's strength, as we try and get across to the opposition, is that we just go game by game.

"They have not played against the forward pack like the one they are going to meet on Sunday when they play England," said the coach.

"I think that getting the South Africa game out of the way is a massive relief to us, it has been hanging around for 12 months and I think that when we look back at this World Cup, we will look at the South Africa game as being the biggest pressure game and a must win game.

"That game is out of the way now and we are just looking forward to the Samoan game, it should be a good Test match, a very physical Test match.

"We're playing in Melbourne in the stadium where we beat Australia three tries to one last time we played here, if my memory serves me well, and we are just looking forward to this week now."

The England coach also paid tribute to Nick Duncombe, the England scrum-half who died early this year at only 21. Zurich, sponsors of the English Premiership, have pledged to pay £10 to the charity set up in memory of the NEC Harlequin for every point England score this World Cup.

"Nick's death was a huge loss to English rugby and obviously a massive loss to his family," said Woodward.

"I knew Nick well and his family well, and I capped him against Scotland three years ago.

"But well done to Zurich, it is fantastic to create a memorial to Nick. It was a tragic event, we still think about him a lot as it was a tragic loss to the game.

"Let's hope there is another sponsor that may match that very generous offer from Zurich."

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