Clive Woodward on www.zurichpremiership.com Friday 7th November 2003Brisbane
AT: A full page article in one of today’s papers is very complimentary about you and the England squad generally, what’s going on?
CW: I enjoyed reading it, I think that what is happening now, is that one or two Australian journalists who have been with us from the start have started to see how we operate and as I keep saying I am personally enjoying the whole trip, and I think that I speak on behalf of all the players and management, that we are having a wonderful time and Australia is just a fantastic country.
As I keep saying, I have first hand knowledge of Australia having lived here and my first two children were born in Manly. One or two people making negative comments or having a go, is never going to effect my view of Australia, the World Cup has been brilliantly organised. The travelling Australian journalists have now seen how we operate and we are no different to how we are back in England and I am just proud of the way that the team conducts itself and the whole management conducts themselves and the way that we work with the press.
We just like to talk about England and the team that we are facing next, outside of that we rarely talk about other teams, unlike some other coaches and countries. It is all coming home to roost and I am just very pleased with the way that we operate. It is nice to read positive things about the team in the papers, rather than some of the bland headlines we have had over the past couple of weeks which are just miles off the truth. You just take it all in your stride and you just have to take the good press and the bad press but the biggest thing is that we are here to win the World Cup and the next game is against Wales.
AT: Friday is traditionally a day off but what will you do today?
CW: Friday is not always the day off, the team day off is usually two days before the game. We have got access to the stadium this morning and as we only have one access to it some of the players will go, some of the players won’t and we were lucky enough to play there against Uruguay last Sunday. Obviously the kickers will go down, Wilkinson and Dawson, definitely the throwers will go down, Thompson and West, and probably most of the players sometime in that three hour slot will jump in a cab and go down to the ground. I will go down for the three hour session just to see that everything is alright, but there is no actual training, just the chance for the team to familiarise themselves with the stadium, go and sit high up in the stands and get a real picture of what is going to happen on Sunday.
We are back about 1pm and I am having a game of golf, I am going to Hope Island. I missed the team golf day last week that Zurich very kindly organised as I was down in Sydney sorting out one or two things there. They have kindly invited myself and Dave Reddin back this afternoon. I think that a day off is very important, I have told the players they should get out of the hotel, not sit in the sun, but walk around Brisbane, go to the coffee bars and get a feeling of the place and just do everything that you would do back in England.
It is well documented in England that the day off for Clive Woodward is a golf day! I have got to do it a little bit differently today as I have to go to the stadium, followed by a few holes at Hope Island, which I am told by all you lot is superb because you were all there last week.
AT: When the players go round Brisbane do they go in groups or individually?
CW: I would be worried if I saw a player on their own, there are a lot of wives and girlfriends over here which I think is good news. We have just got to be as normal as we can, we all realise what is at stake on Sunday but we have to be very relaxed and in control.
I am delighted with the way the whole thing is going. The players will get the odd autograph hunter coming up to them and that’s healthy, the only one that you have to keep your eye on is Jonny Wilkinson. He is such a superstar now and we just monitor him carefully how he wanders round because he does get a lot of people wanting his autograph now, he is the only one, everyone else is fine, including Martin Johnson.
The squad really are enjoying this tournament but it is a massive game for the team on Sunday. We have just got to take this game in our stride and we are preparing for it exactly how we would prepare for Wales in the Six Nations. But I am looking forward to a quiet, restful day in preparation for tomorrow when we will have the team run out and it will be all systems go for Sunday.