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Premiership Rugby

Clive Woodward update – Glad it is over

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

AT: The morning after the hearing, do you feel relieved?

CW: I am not sure that relieved is the right word, I am just glad that it is over, it has been a distraction, some serious allegations were made against the team and myself and we have now got to put a line under it, which we fully intend to do. This is not going to get in the way of our preparations, particularly the next game which is only 48 hours away.

AT: Do you think that it was a fair hearing?

CW: It was an extremely fair hearing. I have to say that Brian McLaughlin who is the judicial officer down there conducted it in an exemplary fashion, in fact from the moment we arrived in Sydney things were handled very well and I have no complaints at all, it was extremely professionally run by the World Cup.

AT: It took four days from the game to the actual hearing, that is a long time, do you think that is fair?

CW: I think that they moved as quickly as they could, to be fair to them. They had to get various reports in from all sorts of people. We are obviously up at the Gold Coast they are down in Sydney and it has happened as quickly as it could, we played on Sunday night, it is not the time thing, it is the fact that it was handled in the proper manner and I have to say that Brian McLaughlin did a very professional job.

AT: Samoa obviously didn’t want to take it further, they must come out with a bit of credit on this don’t they?

CW: They have been outstanding, and they were outstanding before we played them, and my respect for them, especially Michael Jones and John Boe, their coaches, is immense. Their line is that they didn’t want anything to tarnish what was a great game of rugby and they were clearly being put under a fair amount of pressure to say something and they wouldn’t have anything to do with it. They said that it was a storm in a teacup and England had probably done what many other teams had done but they didn’t want to be involved. So my thanks goes to them, that’s what World Cups are about, supporting other teams and I hope that the IRB hands over the ten thousand pounds to the Samoan Rugby Union because I think that they deserve it more than any other team that I have seen here so far.

AT: The touchline ban on Dave Reddin is for two matches, does that ban him from the stadium completely or from just being on the touchline?

CW: It is just on the touchline during the game. But for this weeks game against Uruguay I am going to ask him to sit quietly in the stand and I think that is the right course of events for this weekend. He will arrive with the team, and just watch the game from the stands and we will use other people to do the touchline and the other things that Dave does during the game. It is for two games and we move on.

AT: I know that it has been worrying for the management, has it worried the team?

CW: Yes they were worried but you have to take all these things your stride. Obviously all sorts of things can happen in a World Cup, that is why I brought a lawyer with me. I think we have taken it in our stride and handled it very, very well. We have a very strong group of people here and I have spoken to the team, and with Martin Johnson especially, and I made it very clear that this was not meant to distract them. I had to handle this, along with Richard Smith, our lawyer, and I think we have handled it well and I think that the outcome is fair and it has just been a minor distraction, no more than that. But these were serious allegations and again I think that we have handled it well and the Rugby World Cup has handled it well.

AT:  Are you looking to people here for a whip round?

CW: I am not sure how we will get the money together! All I know is that we have got the fine and we will definitely pay it. What happened on Sunday night will not happen again, we made an error, we have learnt from it and we are looking forward to the rest of the World Cup.

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