Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woodward Takes Heat out of Key Showdown

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woodward Takes Heat out of Key Showdown

Article excerpt


CLIVE WOODWARD today admitted that England had played a part in the mayhem that marred their record 53-3 victory over South Africa at Twickenham in November.

There are concerns that another outbreak of foul play - South Africa had one player sent off - when the teams clash in Perth on Saturday will damage the image of the Cup.

In a bid to allay those fears, both camps have been playing down the significance of that last match and head coach Woodward said: "It was a one off and that is the way we have to look at it. We need to put it behind us and we weren't totally innocent out there either. There were niggles on both sides.

"However, there hasn't been a single game in the nine I have been in charge for against South Africa that I haven't gone into their dressing room and shaken hands afterwards.

"You just knew that going into that Twickenham game last November there wasn't a healthy feeling.

"I have no doubt Saturday's game will be hard and tough and that will be no different from all the others with the exception of the November Twickenham game.

"They have a totally different team, they are not under the same pressure as they were at Twickenham. They believe they can beat England by playing outstanding rugby, which I know they are capable of. We expect a fantastic game on Saturday night and that is how it should be. Both sides have got strength in the physical way that they play the game and when you get two pretty big sides facing each other you are going to get a lot of clashes.

"I would be very surprised if there were any incidents on a par with Twickenham."

Meanwhile Martyn Wood, the Bath scrum-half, has arrived in Australia to act as cover in case Kyran Bracken has to be sent home because of a back injury.

Wood is not officially part of the 30 strong squad until someone is ruled out and is staying in another hotel from England.

Matt Dawson and Andy Gomarsall, the other scrum halves, are injured but do not have the complications caused by Bracken's back complaint. …

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