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Woodward wants chance at next World Cup
London
February 4, 2000

As England prepared for this weekend's opening Six Nations match against Ireland, coach Clive Woodward admitted he would relish the opportunity to stay in control until the next World Cup in three year's time.

Woodward has been stung by criticism of his tactics and management technique following England's disappointing World Cup last year which ended with a heavy quarter-final defeat by South Africa in Paris.

Former captain Will Carling has voiced his opposition, saying the England coach does not have the full support of his players. It has been widely suggested Woodward will be given the job of performance director and a new coach appointed when his contract expires later this year.

"I'd love another crack at the World Cup," Woodward said on Friday.

"I enjoyed it immensely but the disappointment was massive. I love this job but I understand if you are not successful you will not be kept on.

"I'd love to think I'll still be around in four years to give it another go. If I'm not, there will be no moans and groans. I'll have had a fair crack to make it work."

Woodward acknowledged England's Six Nations campaign would be carefully monitored by his paymaster's at Twickenham's Rugby Football Union but insisted he relishes the pressure.

"Pressure is good and I'm as relaxed as I can be. Good players and coaches respond to pressure. I'm very comfortable about what I'm doing and the future," he said.

"English rugby is moving forward very nicely and my position does not come into the equation. I've kept on stressing that despite the disappointment of the World Cup we have not changed anything. We deserved to win the Five Nations last year but didn't and that makes us doubly determined."

Woodward welcomed the new rule changes which have come into force ahead of this weekend's opening series of matches, especially the decision to introduce the sin bin to international rugby.

"I'm delighted with the new rules" he said. "Every coach I've spoken to agrees they are good for the game and it's an advantage to northern hemisphere rugby that we have the opportunity to work with them first.

"It might not go smoothly tomorrow but it's a risk worth taking. Everybody agreed that the World Cup was not great in terms of a spectacle.

"It will be a better game on Saturday than it would have been if the changes had not been made."

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