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Premiership Rugby

Our gold team still to come’ says Woodward

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

"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," said the coach.

"We suddenly come to the Rugby World Cup and we have struggled a bit because of the ball we have given to the opposition.

"The whole gameplan [against Samoa] was to dominate the game and keep hold of possession and if my memory serves me right they had 80 percent of possession in the first half, so it wasn't going according to plan."

Woodward said that he and his coaching team would have a long hard look at the video of the game and seeking some professional advice as to the legality of their actions.

"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," he said.

"We will watch every incident very, very closely to see what exactly is happening."

Woodward paid tribute to the strong Samoan showing on Sunday, and believes that the bruising encounter will help the English team's preparations for the business-end of the tournament.

And the coach insists that the world has yet to see England's first-choice 'gold team' in this competition.

"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," said Woodward.

"We now 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.

"We need these big hit outs, and the Samoans are a good team. I am sure the English will be highly criticised for their performance last [Sunday] night, but I think that when you see Samoa play against South Africa it will all be put in perspective.

"We have a lot of work to do, but we would rather have these discussions at this time in the tournament rather than in knockout stages and get it wrong against one of the bigger teams.

"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.

"I feel that we have yet to field our gold team yet this tournament."

But despite the big Samoan hits, Woodward reported that England had sustain no causalities – stating that the only absentee from the build-up to Saturday's game against Uruguay would be Martin Corry, who is returning to the UK for the birth of his child.

"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," said Woodward.

"Martin Corry flew home last [Sunday] night, that has been all been planned to perfection as his wife is expecting their first baby this week.

"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."

By Andy Jackson


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