England's backs are not good enough - Woodward
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2013
Clive Woodward believes fly-half Owen Farrell is one of only two backs nailed on for the 2015 World Cup © Getty Images

Sir Clive Woodward says that England can win the World Cup with their current pack … but not with the backs.

Woodward, who has been outspoken in his columns for the Daily Mail in recent weeks, said that the defeat by New Zealand "just reinforced the lessons that were plain to see when Wales took England to the cleaners earlier this year".

He continued: "The lesson of the autumn is that England have a magic bunch of forwards tough enough to win a World Cup. The back row have established themselves as a force at the breakdown, almost flawless in defence and a weapon in open play.

"During the Six Nations we saw a return of the physicality we expect of an England pack, but this autumn suggests maturity and organisation is coming.

"But - and it is a big but - outside the pack there has been a significant setback. There is simply no element of genuine fear of our back division. We have learned little other than that we have a pragmatic back line who fail to exploit the brilliant work of the pack and are a long way off the standard required if England really do have aspirations to lift the World Cup again."

Woodward said that a complete overhaul of the back line was in order. "We need to use the Six Nations to unearth some real stars with the ultimate target of beating New Zealand in New Zealand next summer. I would be tempted to use the Six Nations to field a totally different back line.

"This may mean losing the odd game but something has to change, and quickly."

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