The Rugby World Cup final being played between New Zealand and South Africa has left England icon Sir Clive Woodward ‘disappointed’. The two Southern Hemisphere giants clash in Saturday’s highly anticipated showdown, but Woodward wanted to see the Northern Hemisphere represented.
The former England head coach insists he has huge respect for both finalists and is backing a New Zealand victory. However, he warns that the final will simply be ‘more of the same’.
Either New Zealand or South Africa have won the Rugby World Cup since England’s victory in 2003, a mammoth triumph which was led by Woodward. New Zealand can win for the third time in four attempts, while South Africa are
“I have massive respect for South Africa and New Zealand Rugby. But I am disappointed the two teams competing for the trophy are once again the southern hemisphere giants,” Woodward wrote in the Daily Mail.
“This was supposed to be the World Cup where the north delivered. Instead, it’s more of the same.
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“Whatever happens, the name of either New Zealand or South Africa will be on the World Cup trophy for the fifth straight tournament. I would have loved to have seen a northern hemisphere final.”
Woodward believes English rugby needs a major revamp in order to compete for the Webb Ellis Cup. It has been 20 years since the 67-year-old guided the Red Rose to their only victory at the tournament. Steve Borthwick’s side finished third in France this year.
The former centre wants the “old boys’ club” Rugby Football Union (RFU) to appoint a director of rugby, listing Rassie Erasmus, Ian Foster and Joe Schmidt as three standout candidates. The trio will all be in the coaching box at tonight’s final.
“The RFU should be looking at the South African and New Zealand coaching boxes on Saturday night with envy but also with an eye on trying to entice one of them as director of rugby,” Woodward added.
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“I’ve long advocated for English rugby to employ someone of real stature, gravitas and quality to that role. For me, one of the fundamental reasons why the game in our country is still in such a precarious position is because the RFU lacks exactly that right now.
“Between Rassie Erasmus, Ian Foster and Joe Schmidt, there are some fascinating contenders. I’m sure all of them would covet the position as long as they were able to operate as they see fit.
“For as long as I can remember, the RFU has been far too cosy. It’s an old boys’ club which is slowly but surely bringing rugby to its knees at all levels.”
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