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Woodward : Teams will want to avoid England now


Sir Clive Woodward says teams will be wary of England now

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Article Published: Sunday 2 December 2012


England's Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward says that after England stunned New Zealand they are now a team that all other sides will want to avoid in the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw.

Woodward, who coached England' until 2003, also said the shock win had rescued Europe's Six Nations from being regarded as a "second division" international tournament

England produced one of the greatest performances ever seen at Twickenham to beat reigning world champions New Zealand by a record 38-21 on Saturday and so end the All Blacks' 20-match unbeaten run.

Only once in their 498 Tests had New Zealand lost by a bigger margin --28-7 against Australia in 1999, with England's previous best winning margin over the All Blacks a 13-0 win at Twickenham back in 1936.

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are the top four seeds in Monday's draw but Woodward said none of them would want to be in the same pool as 2015 hosts England.

"It was a great, great victory for the English team," Woodward told BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme on Sunday.

"The scoreline absolutely reflected the performance," he added of an England victory that followed narrow defeats by Australia and South Africa in the preceding two weeks.

"They have some great players in there -- Joe Launchbury (lock), Tom Wood (blindside flanker), Chris Robshaw (captain and openside flanker) -- who were world class yesterday (Saturday).

"They had lost the previous two. This was a real David and Goliath effort. They came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won," insisted former England centre Woodward.

"It makes the draw fascinating given England have just demolished New Zealand. The top four sides will not want to be playing against England.

"The draw is really important because it shows which way you go through the quarter-finals, semi-finals.

"That one result yesterday will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once 'we want to keep away from England'."

Woodward also said there was a broader context to England's success which, combined with France's win over Australia and Ireland's defeat of Argentina, represented a rare triumph for a Six Nations team in an end-of-year series of internationals that otherwise went the way of southern hemisphere nations.

"If England had not won yesterday, the Six Nations would have been a second division competition but because of what England did, and to some extent Ireland beating Argentina comfortably, it just sets the Six Nations up absolutely huge," said Woodward, who also said the victory had implications for next year's British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.

"It also sets the Lions year up really, really well now."

England's win, only their seventh over New Zealand, featured three tries from a previously faltering back division and was all the more impressive as they had just 206 caps in their starting line-up -- fewer than the All Blacks had in their three-man front row.

Britain's press revelled in a win few pundits had predicted with Sunday Times rugby correspondent Stephen Jones, one of the sternest critics of England coach Stuart Lancaster's regime, proclaiming: "Hail the win from thin air.

"England stopped worshipping at an altar containing Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Israel Dagg and remembered that these and other celebrated deities are simply human."

However, he added: "If you can be transformed from plodder to rocket in one week, presumably you can revert too.

"But England gave us much-needed evidence at an enraptured Twickenham of new life in their legs and hearts.

"They did not bang their heads, they used them bless their proud red roses."

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