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Woodward criticises RFU's rules over Flood
ESPN Staff
January 12, 2014
Sir Clive Woodward has taken aim at the RFU © Getty Images
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Sir Clive Woodward has criticised the Rugby Football Union's policy of not picking players who are plying their trade in France.

Toby Flood is widely expected to join Toulouse at the end of the season and his decision to pursue his career in France led to him being omitted from England's Six Nations squad. In his place, George Ford has been drafted in, with the young fly-half currently playing for Bath, and even though Lancaster admitted he attempted to persuade Flood to re-sign with Leicester, Flood's Test career appears to be over.

For Woodward, who guided England to the 2003 World Cup win, he feels this policy is wrong."If I was still head coach of England I would be stamping my feet pretty hard to say why are we doing this?" Woodward told BT Sport. "Logically I can't see the difference between playing in Paris or Toulouse and Exeter or Leicester.

"There is nothing wrong with it and the game has moved on. If our top three No.10s all got offered million pound contracts to go and play in France does that mean they are not going to play for England?"

And Woodward believes Lancaster should be able to pick whoever he wants. He added: "I just think it is the wrong move and I think it almost gives the England coach an excuse in that 'I couldn't pick this player or that player'.

"That's not what international rugby is about, you should be able to pick anyone who qualifies for your country to play for your team. It is up to you whether you pick them or not but don't be told you can't pick him because he happens to play in France. I just think it's wrong."

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