Woodward demands decision on his future
March 17, 2000

Clive Woodward today warned that he will not coach England in South Africa this summer unless a new contract has been agreed with his Twickenham bosses.

Woodward, whose team face the penultimate stage of a potential Six Nations Championship grand slam against Italy in Rome tomorrow, will be out of contract when his existing three-year deal expires on August 31.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron has already made it clear that Twickenham wants Woodward to oversee England's 2003 World Cup campaign.

But Woodward himself is looking no further ahead than the Six Nations, which England conclude against Scotland in Edinburgh on April 2.

"I am not going to South Africa unless a new contract is in place before then," he said.

"No-one should take anything for granted and all I am focusing on is tomorrow.

"I haven't had any discussions with anybody. I am not talking to anyone until after the Six Nations, that is a sensible decision to take."

Woodward admitted the England post was "80% fantastic and 20% awful" but added: "I enjoy the job. I would not have been very happy if they had asked me to go after the World Cup because I do not think it was as bad as that. It was a painful time which left me and the players shattered by the whole experience"."

The RFU clearly need to sit down and do some serious talking with their coach to sort out a potential new deal in the immediate aftermath of England's Six Nations season.

At the moment Woodward is non-committal about his future but added tantalisingly: "I want to leave this job a winner. Saturday is a huge game. We are playing away against a good side.

"It's actually a big ground (playing field), but it's a tight stadium. It's a fast ground and that fits the players we have got, but it's still playing away and that is nothing like playing at home,"

He added "I am taking nothing for granted. All I want to do is to win the Six Nations and then I will decide what to do."

The RFU stuck with Woodward despite England's World Cup failure last year, their worst performance in that tournament since 1987.

Since then England have taken the Six Nations by storm, seeing off Ireland, France and Wales, and are now just two wins away from achieving a first championship clean sweep since 1995.

England play two Tests against the Springboks this summer in Pretoria on June 17 and Bloemfontein a week later.

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