x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Woodward lambasts England after South Africa loss

The former England coach Sir Clive Woodward delivers a damming assessment of the state of English rugby after defeat to South Africa.

Sir Clive Woodward believes that the lack of player development is a cause for England's recent failures.
Sir Clive Woodward believes that the lack of player development is a cause for England's recent failures.

LONDON // The World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward delivered a damning assessment of the state of English rugby as the fallout continued from the weekend's embarrassing defeat by South Africa. Woodward, who steered England to World Cup glory in 2003 before resigning a year later, said the record 42-6 defeat at Twickenham showed how far England had slipped. "I never thought I'd see the day that any team would come to Twickenham and win by 40 points, or put on 40 points.

"These things don't happen by chance, it wasn't a freak result," Woodward, now the director of elite performance for the British Olympic Association (BOA), told the BBC. "We seem to be so far off every South African player, I couldn't pick one England player I'd put in the South Africa team. That's a scary thought." Woodward said that questions had to be asked about the development of English players since his side triumphed in Australia five years ago.

"You have to take a step back and look behind the scenes, at the coaching and the management of the team," he said. "What's happened since 2003? Where has the development of players gone?" Despite reaching the World Cup final in Paris last year, where they were beaten by South Africa, England have not won the Six Nations title since Woodward left. England, who began their November Test programme with a 39-13 win over the combined Pacific Islanders team before losing 28-14 to Australia, meet New Zealand on Saturday.

*Reuters