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    Clive Woodward Interview

    <DIV =leadarticle-line>Ex-Lions boss defiant over series failure</DIV>
    <DIV =article-sub>Clive Woodward accepts mistakes but says injuries were key to whitewash</DIV>
    <DIV =article-byline>Alan Hubbard </DIV>
    <DIV =article->
    <DIV =article-photos>
    <DIV></DIV></DIV>


    FORMER Lions coach Clive Woodward admits it took him a long time to get over his experience in New Zealand four years ago, and believes more will have to go right this time out for Ian McGeechan's side to win the series in South Africa.




    Woodward is now part of the British Olympic team that performed well in Beijing last year, and is responsible for unearthing more talent ahead of the Winter Games in Vancouver next year and the Olympics in 2012.




    But it was after leaving rugby following great success in seven years with England, and that disastrous experience with the Lions – plus a brief coaching stint at Southampton FC – that Woodward joined the British Olympic Association (BOA) in September 2006 on the premise of overhauling top coaching in Olympic sports and enhancing performances.




    However, some said Woodward's hapless Lions tour left an indelible stain on his otherwise reputable coaching CV and he agrees that it was not the most auspicious six weeks of his life.




    "You come back and lie awake at night questioning everything," said Woodward. "I would probably change a few things if I had the time over again. Perhaps we tried to cram too much into those six weeks. But sport is about winning and losing. You win, you get a pat on the back, you lose and you get shot.




    "Things did not go well and it's no use making excuses because it's all part of sport, but remember the Lions have been to New Zealand 11 times and lost on 10, so I am in a bracket of 10.




    "It wasn't as if we were going to wallop them. It's not exactly that I'm an exception. It's a tough place to go. We lost key players like Brian O'Driscoll and Lawrence Dallaglio and you can't pick up injuries to your star men and still hope to win in a scratch environment.




    "Yes, it was a hard time but I prefer to look back on my seven years with England as opposed to six weeks with the Lions."




    He reckons if the Lions get lucky with injuries on the upcoming tour and South Africa pick up a few, they might do okay. "They've got a good team but playing away from home they'll need a bit of luck," added Woodward. "We may think the Lions are big over here but the South Africans themselves are even bigger over there. There are players in their team who were kids when they lost 12 years ago and they see it as their chance to redeem that. No bones about it, it's going to be tough."




    Then there was his controversial venture into the round-ball game with Harry Redknapp at Southampton. "I enjoyed football and would probably still be in the game now if I had not had that call from Colin Moynihan (BOA chairman)." Though probably not at Southampton. "No, it's sad what has happened there. They are a great club but it just shows that if you get it wrong off the field you'll never get it right on it, and they've been getting it wrong off the field for a long time."




    Now the 53-year-old Woodward is focusing on his 2012 mission: "When I first shook hands with Colin I assured him I would be here until 2012 and now I feel there is no logical reason why I should want to leave after that... it has enabled me to get into vital areas of sport.




    "I believe what we are developing can be a powerful product, not only for Olympic sport but all British sport, and I've no plans to go back into anything else."</DIV>
    Free Palestine.

    Champions aren\'t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision.
    Muhammad Ali

    #2
    Woodward does absolutely nothing for me. He was a good and
    innovative coach at London Irish, but he rode an unbelievably
    talented English team full of on-pitch leaders [Johnson, Leonard,
    Vickery, Dallaglio, Back, Dawson, Wilkinson, Catt and Greenwood], a
    huge playing population and a massive budget to the World Cup. It
    would have been p¡ss-poor not to have won it that year.

    He couldn't even get them to peak at the right time: everyone
    involved in the English set-up will say that they played their best
    rugby in 2002 and in the 2003 6 Nations, rather than a World Cup
    that they managed to win playing below their best.

    In fairness to him, he built a good squad, and certainly got the most
    out of players like Cohen, Lewsey, Tindall, Steve Thompson and
    Trevor Woodman, who looked like top internationals under
    Woodward but whom all struggled [arguably bar Lewsey] without
    him, for various reasons - primarily injury, it must be said.

    Basically, my contention would be that England won because of the
    fact that they had an unbelievable crop of players, several of whom
    were the best in the world at their position [Johnson, Hill, Dallaglio,
    Jason Robinson, arguably Back, Wilkinson and Greenwood] and
    sh¡tloads of on-pitch leaders.

    He wasn't coaching these lads day-in, day-out, but was instead
    providing a framework which involved a huge budget and relied on
    big player numbers. They did terribly in the "judge me on the"
    99RWC, butchered several Grand Slam opportunities despite clearly
    being the best team in the 6N - a 6 Nations era comprised of
    generally p¡ss-poor [or at best unpredictable] Irish, Scottish and
    Welsh teams for the most part.

    He made a dog's dinner of the 2005 Lions, playing shocking rugby,
    struggling past NPC sides and getting whipped off the face of the park
    in the test series.

    Made an unbelievably hubristic decision to go into football with
    Southampton, where he had no real impact, was generally disliked
    and ultimately derided and thought not to have understood the game.

    Now he's riding another massive surge of government investment
    into the British Olympics. In fairness to him, they did well at the last
    Olympics, but how much of that can you contribute to him? The
    cycling team [their most successful event if I recall correctly] pretty
    much called him a muppet and told him to p¡ss off.

    Beyond that, he pretty much defines the arrogance [and petulance]
    that most people dislike about English rugby. "Oh, but if everything
    went my way we would have won" - pal, every coach could say that.
    Of course if everything went your way you would have won. If
    everything went Eddie O'Sullivan's way in 2007 we would have won
    the world cup!

    Comment


      #3
      Good post Hugonaut. He was certaintly blessed with good players.

      Comment


        #4
        Yeah, that first sentence wins a Sybil Fawlty award for stating the bleedin' obvious -

        "... more will have to go right this time out for Ian McGeechan's side to win the series in South Africa."

        Never woulda thunk it!
        Tis but a scratch.

        Comment


          #5
          He reminds me of Ger Loughnane with the luck he had with players!

          Comment


            #6





            England have had lots of good players without winning world cups. It's fashionable to deride Woodward's input on that team, but some of the stuff he did was really innovative.


            IMO, Johnson has clearly shown over his brief tenure with England so far that he's no strategist. The laurels that he was quietly tugging towards himself by hinting at a lack of input from Woodward would appear to be a bit illusionary.


            I think Woodward was much like Kidney. He's not an up close, technical coach. He's someone who builds teams and drives performance. Which is what coaching is about at international level, I think.


            That said, if he thinks that O'Driscoll and Dallaglio would have made a difference against the AB's on that your he's delusional. We were a million miles off them, and it wasn't until France did them at the World Cup that the rest of the world looked like catching up.
            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Balla Boy





              England have had lots of good players without winning world cups. It's fashionable to deride Woodward's input on that team, but some of the stuff he did was really innovative.


              IMO, Johnson has clearly shown over his brief tenure with England so far that he's no strategist. The laurels that he was quietly tugging towards himself by hinting at a lack of input from Woodward would appear to be a bit illusionary.


              I think Woodward was much like Kidney. He's not an up close, technical coach. He's someone who builds teams and drives performance. Which is what coaching is about at international level, I think.


              That said, if he thinks that O'Driscoll and Dallaglio would have made a difference against the AB's on that your he's delusional. We were a million miles off them, and it wasn't until France did them at the World Cup that the rest of the world looked like catching up.


              I take your point re Johnson, more of an NCO than a general, but to be fair, he's dealing with some fairly duff players...think it was Glennon who drew a parallel between him and Willie John's tenure as Irish coach - iconic captain and player but no coaching experience before taking over the national post.
              \"This year is different because this year they won\'t beat snow off a rope. They\'ll revert back to type and get 6 shades of s**t bate out of them in the group stages of the HEC ...\" Tobyglen 21 Sept 2010

              Comment


                #8


                The one great "coaching"quality Woodward had , was to create an environment where a group of elite players could perform .


                England at that time were blessed with6superstars ; Johnson ; Hill ; Back ; Dallaglio ; Wilkinson ; Robinson ; complimented by about a dozen excellent players , such as Greenwood , Lewsey and Vickery etc.


                Woodward was not a great tactician ; a great coach ; or a great motivator but he made sure thathis players were given the best of everything ; travel ; accomodation ; equipment ; training facilities ; etc etc ; so that they could concentrate on winning rugby matches .


                He was lucky to inherit such a squad , but he made sure that nothing hindered their ability tp perform .

                Comment


                  #9

                  Originally posted by Nick

                  .


                  He was lucky to inherit such a squad , but he made sure that nothing hindered their ability tp perform .
                  The key to his success.

                  Lawrence Dallaglio described him like he was some sort of mystic; he was full of weird idiosyncrasies, but ultimately he was a guy who knew how to create and nurture a winning culture.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Nick


                    The one great "coaching"quality Woodward had , was to create an environment where a group of elite players could perform .


                    England at that time were blessed with6superstars ; Johnson ; Hill ; Back ; Dallaglio ; Wilkinson ; Robinson ; complimented by about a dozen excellent players , such as Greenwood , Lewsey and Vickery etc.


                    Woodward was not a great tactician ; a great coach ; or a great motivator but he made sure thathis players were given the best of everything ; travel ; accomodation ; equipment ; training facilities ; etc etc ; so that they could concentrate on winning rugby matches .


                    He was lucky to inherit such a squad , but he made sure that nothing hindered their ability tp perform .


                    I'd agree with most of that, save the fact that Greenwood was better than anyone in your first list bar Johnson and maybe Wilkinson. For my money the best Englishman ever to wear a backs shirt.


                    I might take issue with the tactician thing as well. England changed their game radically for a couple of years before reverting a little for the world cup win.


                    But Woodward was a CEO. As you say, he made sure they had the best coaching, the best conditioning, the best facilities. He pursued and explored anything that might add an edge. He was one of the early adopters of Prozone technology, one of the first to adopt vision training - things that have been picked up more widely now.
                    "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                    "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                    "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Kidney isn't a great technical coach either, whereas supposedly Andy
                      Robinson is. Woodward was perfect for the England role because he
                      allowed good coaches who wouldn't be good managers do their stuff.
                      It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

                      Every plan I have is the best plan in the room. Everybody get quiet and listen to it, and everybody will win

                      Comment


                        #12
                        "I think Woodward was much like Kidney. He's not an up close,
                        technical coach. He's someone who builds teams and drives
                        performance. Which is what coaching is about at international level, I
                        think." - Balla Boy

                        Very good point. Coaching at international level is certainly a
                        different beast to coaching a club team. I also agree that he was an
                        innovator in terms of exploring a variety of fields in terms of
                        enhancing on-pitch performance - his 100 1% improvements, if I
                        recall the phrase correctly.

                        However, regarding tactical changes [and I accept that my view of
                        Woodward is discoloured by a dislike of his personality], I'd argue
                        that it was Woodward's vision that failed, and the leadership of the
                        players on the pitch that won them the 2003 World Cup.

                        Woodward's teams of the late 90s and early 00s played some
                        scintillating 'total' rugby, and I accept that he was a major influence
                        in this: after all, he had shown this kind of approach while at Sunbury
                        and, to an extent, at Bath. However, his English team fell at the last
                        hurdle to inferior teams year after year - 3 years in a row [and that
                        doesn't include losses to the French].

                        Now, generally I'm of the belief that it's actions on the pitch
                        [essentially the players] that lose tight matches, rather than actions
                        before/off the pitch [the coaches]. However, it's my opinion that
                        losing three Grand Slam matches in a row [last game in 99 vs Wales,
                        last game in 2000 against Scotland, last game in 2001 vs Ireland]
                        against significantly inferior teams, has to take away from your
                        reputation, your credibility as a coach - just like John Madden as
                        head coach of the Oakland Raiders in the 70s, Woodward 'couldn't
                        win the big one'.

                        Again, I'll admit I'm not a Woodward fan, but I don't think it's unfair
                        to say that, given the evidence, he lacked some of the qualities that
                        make a good motivator.

                        Well to cut it short [as I have the tendency to sh¡te on, as you've
                        probably noticed], I think that the RWC03 victory was achieved more
                        by the actions, attitude and leadership of hugely experienced and
                        extremely gifted players who essentially played to their strengths
                        and dragged themselves to the top of the pile.

                        I accept that he 'built' the team – and he got a lot out of players who
                        went into sharp decline after his departure, as I mentioned in my first
                        post. However, it's my belief that he had very favourable conditions
                        in this regard - hugely gifted players, a long tenure [despite their
                        poor performance at his first RWC in 99, on which he told his critics
                        to judge him] and massive financial backing, which allowed him a
                        tabula rasa for all his investigations/experiments/ideas.

                        It's not that I believe that Woodward had nothing to do with it – and I
                        accept many of your arguments – but I find it hard to reconcile the
                        dog-tough, savvy know-how that they exhibited during the RWC2003
                        with the attacking flair and mental frailty in big games that was the
                        hallmark of Woodward Years 1997-2002. I think the the team
                        ultimately outgrew him.

                        As a last remark, I'd consider him several notches below Rod
                        Macqueen on the coaching ladder, a guy who was successful at every
                        level, from bringing the Brumbies from literally nowhere to Super 12
                        champs, engineering a shift in the game towards defense which
                        allowed his 1999 Wallabies to win the RWC and beating an extremely
                        talented Lions team [significantly more talented than his Wallabies, in
                        my opinion] in 2001.



                        Comment


                          #13
                          Clive Woodward has appeared to rule himself out of a return to
                          Twickenham as the Rugby Football Union’s performance director.

                          Woodward,
                          England’s 2003 World Cup-winning supremo, had been installed as
                          favourite for a post created by RFU chief executive John Steele’s recent
                          restructuring plan.

                          But Woodward, the British Olympic
                          Association’s director of sport and Team GB deputy chef de mission, has
                          now distanced himself from the role in his first public comment on the
                          speculation that has raged for weeks.

                          In a statement released by
                          the BOA, Woodward revealed he had participated in "informal
                          conversations'' with RFU ``senior figures'' with the full knowledge of
                          BOA chairman Lord Colin Moynihan and chief executive Andy Hunt.

                          But
                          he also confirmed he would not be attending interviews relating to the
                          performance’s director position.

                          Woodward said: “Since the Rugby
                          Football Union announced its restructuring plan late last year, there
                          has been considerable speculation that I might return to the RFU.

                          “With
                          the full knowledge of Colin Moynihan and Andy Hunt, I have had informal
                          conversations regarding the role of performance director with senior
                          figures at the RFU.

                          “However, I have not participated in a formal
                          interview for this position at any stage in the RFU process.

                          “From
                          the outset I made it clear to both Colin and Andy that I would only
                          attend a formal interview with their full knowledge. I would like to
                          express my thanks for their understanding over this situation, and also
                          for their considered views which have been greatly appreciated.

                          “In
                          order to prevent any further speculation, and in the interests of the
                          both the BOA and RFU, I would like to formally confirm that I will not
                          be attending any interviews for this position.”

                          Woodward added:
                          "I am totally committed to my role as director of sport at the British
                          Olympic Association and deputy chef de mission for Team GB in London
                          2012.

                          “We have an historic opportunity ahead, when more than 500
                          of Britain’s most accomplished Olympic athletes will represent Team GB,
                          at home, in the London 2012 Games.

                          “May I wish the RFU all the
                          best in its search to find the appropriate candidate for this very
                          important role for English rugby, going forward.

                          “I would also
                          like to take this opportunity to wish Martin Johnson, his coaching team
                          and all of his players every success, but especially for this year’s
                          Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which all rugby fans are looking forward
                          to.”

                          <div style="overflow: ; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); : ansparent; text-align: left; text-decorati&#111;n: n&#111;ne; border: medium n&#111;ne;">
                          Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/sport/woo...s-down-return- to-rfu-505663.html#ixzz1MoXsioum
                          </div>
                          Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Bump.

                            Saw him on tv on Thursday night. He looked dreadful. Hope he's ok.
                            Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
                            Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

                            Comment

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