Rugby

SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: England must treat All Blacks clash like World Cup final

SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: England need to treat clash with the All Blacks like a World Cup final… Eddie Jones’ side have to play with pace, stick to the basics and keep Ardie Savea quiet if they are to produce a statement win

  • Sir Clive Woodward wants England to treat clash with New Zealand like a final
  • He wants Eddie Jones’ side to play with pace and be clinical when they attack 
  • Going back to basics and targeting New Zealand’s strengths are more top tips 

England must treat Saturday’s crunch clash with New Zealand as a World Cup final. 

It’s time to banish talk of planning for France next year and for Eddie Jones and the team to produce a statement win.

Here’s my five-point plan on how England can come out on top…

Sir Clive Woodward has urged Eddie Jones and England to treat game like a World Cup final

Sir Clive Woodward has urged Eddie Jones and England to treat game like a World Cup final 

1 Play with pace

England have to play with pace. 

I don’t mean having Usain Bolt on the wing. I mean bringing speed and tempo to everything the team does. 

Quick tap penalties and quick line-outs can do that to any team. More importantly, the quicker you play, the more the stadium gets behind you. 

There will be a huge crowd at Twickenham and the noise for the Haka will be immense. England need to feed off that.

The noise for the Haka will be incredible and it will help the atmosphere at Twickenham

The noise for the Haka will be incredible and it will help the atmosphere at Twickenham 

2 Be clinical in attack 

England have to take the points when they get in the New Zealand 22. That means being clinical in attack but also taking three points on offer. 

They need to look at the drop goal as an option. England have a world-class goal-kicker in Owen Farrell. 

Going three, six, or nine points in front early could make a huge difference.

 3 Target their strengths 

When I coached against New Zealand I used to say how important it was to target their strengths. 

New Zealand have so many top players. Two of their best are the Barrett brothers, Beauden and Jordie at 15 and 12. The All Blacks have almost stumbled across playing those two guys there by accident, but it is working for them.

I really like Jordie Barrett as an inside centre. He has a great midfield partnership with Rieko Ioane, but England can’t be afraid to target New Zealand’s best players. Manu Tuilagi can cause Jordie Barrett and Ioane a lot of problems. England must look to test them in defence early on. They can unsettle New Zealand’s back-line.

When I talk about targeting individual players, it’s about doing it in a positive way and nothing to do with trying to unsettle them off the ball or anything like that. Take Beauden Barrett. He’s brilliant, but at 15 I think England can get some joy in the air against him. Get Freddie Steward up against him and I’m backing the England man.

Two of New Zealand's best players are Beauden Barrett (left) and Jordie Barrett (right)

Two of New Zealand’s best players are Beauden Barrett (left) and Jordie Barrett (right)

4 Do the basics right 

In international rugby there are three basics: scrum, line-out and restarts – these have to go well. 

Discipline is also vital. England will have to concede fewer than 10 penalties to win.

5 Do a job on Ardie Savea 

I like the English back row of Sam Simmonds, Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola. They have to do a job on New Zealand’s talismanic Ardie Savea. 

He’s been immense, even when the All Blacks have struggled. 

Simmonds, Curry and Vunipola must keep him quiet.

Sam Simmonds will have to have his back row on point to deal with the threat of Ardie Savea

Sam Simmonds will have to have his back row on point to deal with the threat of Ardie Savea 

I’m pleased Simmonds has retained his place. He was excellent against Japan. England’s pack looks good with Maro Itoje in the second row. They have to deliver.

One more thing. I’d like to congratulate Owen Farrell on his 100th England cap on Saturday. I hope England win for him. 

Owen is one of my all-time favourite England players and his achievement is a big one for him and his family. I’m sure he’ll deliver a big performance.


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