Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Woodward sceptical over Lancaster

Sir Clive Woodward

Sir Clive Woodward believes England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster has "a lot to prove" and should consider himself fortunate to be taking charge of an international side at this stage in his career.

Lancaster was promoted from his previous position of head of elite player development at the Rugby Football Union, and World Cup-winning coach Woodward feels he has a lot of hard work in front of him.

"Considering the fact that he's never coached a team at Premiership level he must be thinking how lucky he is to get this opportunity," Woodward told the Guardian. "You wish him well but international rugby is a tough environment. My advice to him would be to play it down."

He added: "Look, he's spoken a lot of common sense but it's easy to talk common sense. How can we make any judgments when we've not seen how his teams even play? In the end he will be judged solely on results. The Six Nations is a tough competition and he's got a lot to prove."

Woodward, who has consistently been linked with a return to Twickenham in some capacity, has been impressed by Lancaster's public relations skills but stressed that the real test would come in the RBS 6 Nations.

"A fresh approach was needed at Twickenham and it's (been) good media work. But the closer he comes to the first game, against Scotland, the more he'll realise this other stuff is irrelevant. The relevant stuff is about how his players hit the first rucks and how they use the ball they win."

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