Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woody under Fire; Gatland Blast over Missing Cup Heroes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Woody under Fire; Gatland Blast over Missing Cup Heroes

Article excerpt


CLIVE WOODWARD came under criticism for the first time since masterminding England's World Cup win when Warren Gatland today questioned his selection policy for Saturday's game against the New Zealand Barbarians.

The London Wasps director of rugby said he was puzzled by the omission of so many big names for the game which was originally billed as a chance for the Twickenham fans to show their appreciation of England's historic victory in Australia.

Instead Woodward named just five of the team who started the World Cup final in his squad, leaving out captain Martin Johnson and fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, who was subsequently injured.

Woodward will announce his team, which will be captained by Richard Hill, later today. Ben Cohen, Jason Robinson, Mike Tindall and Trevor Woodman are the other members of England's World Cup final XV who are supposed to be in the squad - although, in another piece of bad news, Gloucester have said they do not want Woodman to play.

Galtand said: "I am surprised at the selection made by Clive Woodward and I thought this was going to be a chance for the starting XV to play in front of their own fans. You could have let them have 20 minutes and then brought on a lot of replacements but at least the fans would have seen the Cup-winning side in action.

"It was supposed to be a festive occasion, a chance to celebrate what has been achieved and I am not sure why the game is still being played if the players are just going to be walking around showing off the cup to the crowd." Saturday's game is a 75,000 sell-out and is expected to generate around [pounds sterling]5million for the RFU, which expected to make a [pounds sterling]3.4m loss this financial year.

Woodward is adamant the fixture is not a glorified exhibition match and said: "No, it's the complete opposite. …

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