Anorak News | Kings Of The World

Kings Of The World

by | 24th, November 2003

‘ONLY a few years ago, Clive Woodward was being ridiculed after his “Judge us on the World Cup” boast backfired on him, courtesy of Jannie De Beer’s record five drop goals.

Guess who?

Now, as a World Cup-winning coach, Woodward not only looks odds-on for a knighthood but is seemingly being lined up to rescue England’s football team.

The Mail says FA chief executive has already asked his counterpart at the RFU to set up a meeting with Woodward and the man himself admitted he would be interested in the challenge.

The paper reminds us that Woodward coached football while studying for a business degree at Loughborough University and still follows the game closely.

However, the timing of any switch would be difficult, given that the coach is committed to defending his world crown in France in 2007.

How many of the 30 members of the winning squad will be there we don’t know, but the Express says there is an appetite for more among the golden oldies.

Woodward says that he is expecting all 30 to be available for the Six Nations starting at the end of January.

“We have to keep the momentum going and all these players have a huge role to play in the future,” he says.

“You don’t want to break the team up but rather over the months and years change it one by one.”

As for Saturday’s game itself, the England players admit that it should never have gone to extra time. Part of the reason that it did was the mistakes England made, part was the sheer cussedness of the Australians and part was a bizarre performance by referee Andre Watson.

The Express says the England players have been diplomatic in public about the South African’s performance but are “incandescent” in private.

“We thought we went in with real superiority at scrum time and to be penalised so many times in such a massive game, where we hadn’t been penalised once in six games, seemed difficult to understand,” Woodward said.

Prop Phil Vickery is clearly as bemused as the England fans and most observers.

“The sense of frustration was massive,” he tells the Sun, “because you could say we were penalised for having a better player than them and that’s daft.”

In the end, Vickery was substituted for Jason Leonard and the England pack gave up contesting scrums on the Australian put-in.

But thankfully it did not affect the result. As Neil Back tells the Mirror: “I’m king of the world for four years and no-one can take that away.”’

Posted: 24th, November 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink