Clive Woodward lays into England's coaches
November 4, 2013
England, so Clive Woodward claims, 'allowed themselves to get sucked down to the level of the Australian team' © Getty Images
Sir Clive Woodward said that England turned in "one of the worst first halves I can remember watching at Twickenham" before the second-half recovery which saw them beat Australia 20-13.
Woodward, writing for the Daily Mail, was not short of criticism of, and advice for, the England side claiming that they needed to improve if they were to beat Argentina at the weekend.
"Stop worrying about the opposition and start focusing on yourself," he wrote. "England's most significant flaw was to allow themselves to get sucked down to the level of the Australian team - and the Wallabies in the second half were worthy of a one out of 10.
"I would love to sit down with both head coaches and ask a simple question: 'What were you both trying to do?' If you went to a rock concert, or to the West End, and saw a quality of performance as bad as that then you would feel disgruntled and there was certainly an odd, unsettled atmosphere in the ground."
Woodward, who guided England to the World Cup in 2003, said "obsession with territory from both sides came at the cost of a proper contest" and bemoaned "a pointless pattern of play - win a penalty at the scrum, kick to touch, lose the line-out".
In what often appeared an open criticism of the current coaching staff, he claimed "80,000 people in the ground and the millions watching on TV could see what was happening" and that players were not empowered to think for themselves. "Every time England won a penalty you could tell the initial instinct is to look around or into the stands rather than taking an immediate decision.
"It's not the personnel, it is the way England are playing, and speed of play comes down to the coaches. We are not throwing down the gauntlet at Twickenham like we used to when it was a fortress. If England have any aspirations to be the No. 1 ranked team in the world, they have to play in a very different way and speed of ball is top of the list."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Download ESPN's new UK multisport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.
Communication error please reload the page.
A resurgent Venus Williams defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 7-6(1) on Monday to reach the Miami Open quarter-finals
Former QPR and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp expects Harry Kane's remarkable rise to continue after the Tottenham striker scored 79 seconds into his England debut
Tottenham striker Harry Kane will make his full England debut against Italy in Turin on Tuesday night, Roy Hodgson has announced
FA vice-chairman David Gill claims that England could bid for the 2030 World Cup if FIFA is able to prove that the bidding process is transparent
FIFA whistleblower Bonita Mersiades has urged leading European clubs to put pressure on world football's governing body to reform
Maurice Hamilton looks through the reaction of the British press to Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari returning to winning ways at the Malaysian Grand Prix
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
After a 10-year break in the fixture, England and Italy have faced each other three times in as many seasons, with one win each and a draw
Queensland are worth watching again, even if victory over the Lions would have papered over cracks, because Quade Cooper is back in the No.10 jersey, Greg Growden writes
In a exciting return from injury, Quade Cooper thrilled fans to become Player of the Round, while a new star now leads the medal tally
Six months after being victim of a machete attack that left him fearing for his life, Kell Brook dished out a vicious attack of his own in his a first world title defence
Kell Brook is not waiting for Amir Khan to make up his mind about fighting him and hopes to face either Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez or American Brandon Rios this summer
Patrick Kluivert has revealed he did not follow Louis van Gaal to Manchester United as his No.2 last summer as he was holding out for a managerial role instead
Luis Suarez received a rapturous reception as he made his first return to Anfield since joining Barcelona, playing the second half of a charity game between sides captained by Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher
Danny Welbeck believes signing for Arsenal has helped him to improve his international form for England
Rory McIlroy walked off at the Honda Classic. What next for the Northern Irishman?
Join Steve Bunce and Barry Jones each week for the latest news, views and debate from the boxing world.
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Miroslav Klose scored goals in the World Cup final tournaments of 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. Has anyone else scored World Cup goals 12 years apart?