England 20-13 Australia
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."
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