Woodward - England players need to last the distance
June 16, 2014
Regardless of how many are in the squad, England need their starting XV to be able to last the distance © Getty Images
Sir Clive Woodward has criticised England for having players who cannot last the whole match and for a reliance on "impact players" who come off the bench in the latter stages.
In his Daily Mail column, Woodward wrote that "England must start producing 100-minute rugby players - World Cup games have been known to go to extra time - if they are to win the tournament in 2015".
To get them used to this, he said that in the 3rd Test next weekend the aim should be for the starting XV to finish the match. "I am mystified by the use of so-called impact players in Test rugby when in fact they very rarely make an impact at all. On Saturday England got nothing extra out of Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley. Test rugby is completely different from club rugby. It's incredibly difficult to come off the bench in a game played at 100mph, like the second Test in Dunedin, and make a difference - especially against the All Blacks and South Africa. I'm struggling to think of the last time that happened. It's possible in the Premiership but not against the world's best team."
At club level there is a need to protect players for future matches, but Woodward said in Tests "there is no tomorrow … the only thing that matters is having your best 15 on the pitch for as long as possible. You need your big guns firing as many shots as possible".
Much depends on fitness but that should not be an excuse. "England players lack for nothing in conditioning and athletes in Britain are supported by cutting edge sports science. For England to be anything other than the fittest team in the world is unacceptable."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd