Woodward: Teams will fear England
December 2, 2012
England shocked the All Blacks at Twickenham © PA Photos
Sir Clive Woodward believes England's demolition of New Zealand makes them the team to be avoided in Monday's Rugby World Cup draw.
England produced one of the great Twickenham performances to beat the world champions by a record 38-21 scoreline and end the All Blacks' 20-Test unbeaten streak. Only once in 498 Tests had New Zealand been beaten by more. England's previous best victory over the All Blacks was 13-0 in 1936.
New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are the top seeds in tomorrow's draw - and Woodward thinks none of them will want to be grouped with 2015 tournament hosts England.
"It was a great, great victory for the English team," Woodward told the BBC. "The scoreline absolutely reflected the performance and it was a great, great day to be at Twickenham.
"They have some great players in there - Joe Launchbury, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw - who were world class yesterday. They had lost the previous two. This was a real David and Goliath effort. They came out and threw the kitchen sink and New Zealand got completely rattled. Every phase of the game they won.
"It makes the draw fascinating given England have just demolished New Zealand. The top four sides will not want to be playing against England. The draw is really important because it shows which way you go through the quarter-finals, semi-finals.
"That one result yesterday will make the southern hemisphere teams sit up and say for once 'we want to keep away from England'."
Woodward also believes England's victory was significant for the whole of northern hemisphere rugby. France beat Australia and Ireland beat Argentina but otherwise the autumn was a disappointment for the Six Nations teams.
"If England had not won yesterday, the Six Nations would have been a second division competition but because of what England did, and to some extent Ireland beating Argentina comfortably, it just sets the Six Nations up absolutely huge. It also sets the Lions year up really, really well now."
Lancaster's pride in his team was clear and he was delighted England proved what they were capable of and, crucially with 2015 in mind, gave an indication of what they could become.
"Our belief in the direction we are on hasn't wavered over the last four weeks. We nearly got across the line against Australia and South Africa but just missed out," Lancaster said. "We copped for a bit but stayed tight and we put in a performance we can all be proud of.
"It was less than 11 months ago we changed the direction of travel for England rugby, to build a team for the future but also wanting to win in the here and now. Sometimes it takes a win to show that and the most pleasing thing is it has given a clear view of the direction we are going."
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