Clive Woodward Transcript on www.zurichpremiership.com Wednesday 22nd October 2003Melbourne
AT: There will be a team selection later today, are we likely to see any changes?
CW: There will be a few changes on the team that played South Africa, I just want to wait till after training today to finalise the side. There are one or two players that I want to see run today, I made it clear to all the players that unless they are training today full on they won’t be considered. I just want to check up as well on Hill, Dawson, the guys who were not available last week, then we make the selection. But we will be selecting a very, very strong team, we are not going to play Samoa in any other way than when we played South Africa, so we will be picking, arguably, our strongest team.
AT: The roof will be closed for the match, but you had to train in the wet yesterday, it is almost a waste of time training in heavy rain like that?
CW: It is never a waste of time, you can actually do more when the weather conditions are so bad, it just ups the level of skill and you can do a lot. I am just delighted that the roof is shut for Sunday night. We know exactly what we are getting in terms of conditions, last time we played there we had a very good game against Australia and we have got a good ball handling side, so I am pleased that the conditions will be perfect on Sunday night. We have a tremendous pace in the team and incredible ball handling skill with the forwards. I was absolutely delighted with our performance against South Africa in terms of defence, it was one of the best defensive performances that England have ever put in, and it needed to be for the amount of ball that we gave the South African’s. That is an area that we have to step up on at the weekend and I think that we will have to look closely at. But there will be a lot of the players that played against South Africa playing at the weekend. I am looking forward to it and putting a lot of things right that we got wrong against South Africa with the ball in hand.
AT: Christian Cullen has just written his autobiography and he has torn into the coach John Mitchell, do you think that sort of thing should happen?
CW: It is a free world, you can’t stop it. I have to say it says more about Christian Cullen than it does about John Mitchell. We know John Mitchell very well, he is an outstanding bloke and an outstanding coach, and you know from where I am sitting he has done a great job with the All Blacks, he has made them into a great team that everyone wants to watch. He has made some very, very tough decisions leaving out one or two big name players like Taine Randall, Cullen and Wilson. You will never hear a bad word about Mitchell from the England camp, he worked with us for a long time and never let us down, and there is stuff that he could have said but he didn’t and that is why the guys like him so much and trust him so much. That’s why I find the comments that come through just sad really, no more than that. As you can only pick 30 players for a World Cup and 15 for a game, I think that some players show their disappointment in ways that I don’t think that is correct and I would be very, very disappointed if it happened in the England camp.