Woodward delighted with opening performance
June 14, 2000
Clive Woodward tonight declared himself highly satisfied with England's 52-22 victory over North West District which launched their five-match South Africa tour in impressive fashion.
England, brilliantly led by experienced Bath forward Ben Clarke, scored seventries to put their squad in good heart ahead of next Saturday's first Test against South Africa in Pretoria.
With Clarke spearheading a powerful forwards effort and securing an abundance of quality possession, England's backs ran in five tries two of them from wing Dan Luger.
Clarke also helped himself to a try double, and both players will inevitably feature in manager Woodward's thoughts as he deliberates the Test 22 overnight.
``There were a lot of nerves before this game,'' Woodward said.
``But I was very pleased that we made a good start to the tour and came through injury-free.
``Given that this was an inexperienced and very young team, then I am very satisfied. It was a good win and a good start to the tour for us.''
New head coach Andy Robinson could also content himself with the knowledge that his players performed in such impressive fashion.
He said: ``I thought that our line-out functioned well, and the effort in the scrummage was good there were two packs out there who really went for it.''.
Woodward plans to announce his Test line-up tomorrow afternoon, and Luger's performance especially means that he is challenging strongly Six Nations starters Austin Healey and Ben Cohen.
Woodward must also choose between 34-year-old Darren Garforth and uncapped Saracens forward Julian White, while Clarke could well have clinched a place on the substitutes' bench.
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin