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Premiership Rugby

A ‘scary night’ says Woodward

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

AT: Clive it is the morning after a hard, bruising encounter last night, but it really has set the World Cup alight.

CW: (laughter) I am delighted for the World Cup it was a scary night for us, and I have got to say well done to Samoa. From an English point of view we have been involved in two huge games, the South African game and the Samoan game, no other side in the tournament has had that, so the morning afterwards and we have a lot of work to do.

But we know we are in the World Cup and we have won all our games and we can now go up to Brisbane and look forward to the Uruguay game and hopefully a quarter final against Wales. But we do need these big hit outs and the Samoans are a good team, and I am sure the English will be highly criticised for their performance last night, but I think that when you see Samoa play against South Africa it will all be put in perspective. In the end we did score four tries to one, but we have a lot of work to do, but we would rather have these discussions at this time in the tournament rather than in knock out stages and get it wrong against one of the bigger teams.

AT: Ball retention seems to be a bit of a problem, we keep spilling the ball, admittedly the opposition put in some very big hits last night, but you can’t coach ball retention can you?

CW: Absolutely we do it all the time, the bigger concern was the actual penalty count giving that amount of penalties away at this stage, and I haven’t watched the tape, we have got a professional referee with us in Steve Lander to see that we are on the right side of what is acceptable, and in the last two games we seem to have been way out of line. We will watch every incidence very, very closely to see what exactly is happening. We have got a fantastic record in England and it is based on the fact that we play a very disciplined game and don’t give away any penalties and we suddenly come to World Cup and we have struggled a bit because of the ball we have given to the opposition.

The whole game plan last night was to dominate the game and keep hold of possession and if my memory serves me right they had 80% of possession in the first half, so it wasn’t going according to plan! I am just glad that the team came through at the end and we won through the sheer bloody mindedness of the English team. We have got an outstanding group of players and it is going to take a very good team to beat us.

AT: The good news is that there are no injuries from last night?

CW: No injury problems which means that we will be picking from full strength for this weekend and it should mean that we will be full strength for the quarter final. One thing I have to say is that last night Martin Corry flew home, that has been all been planned to perfection as his wife is expecting their first baby this week. So if she hasn’t delivered by the time that he lands they are going to induce her and so he will see his wife and baby and be back with us on Friday. Will Greenwood is already in Brisbane. I say again we have an outstanding group of players but I feel that we have yet to field our gold team yet this tournament. We are looking forward to flying to Brisbane tonight and it was a big relief to win and I just have to say well done to everyone involved.


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