Sir Clive Woodward compares current crop to 2003 side

Sir Clive Woodward compares eras

  • Sir Clive Woodward outlines three reasons why the 2003 World Cup winning side was better than the class of 2016
  • The 60-year-old said while there were similarities between his team and the current bunch
  • Woodward believes England has what it takes to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan
Sir Clive Woodward has outlined three reasons why he thinks his 2003 World Cup winning England team were better than Eddie Jones’ current side.

In his Daily Mail column, Woodward said while there were similarities between his team and the current bunch, there are three important differences which sets the legendary class of 2003 apart.

“Firstly, when the 2003 team were in their pomp I feel the pack was more intimidating and dominant,” Woodward wrote in his column.

“There was no messing about with that England pack and unless we ran into a referee who took objection to our scrummaging we were totally dominant. The class of 2016 have not yet reached that level but they have the potential and this is an area they will be working on constantly.

“Secondly, versatility. By the time England reached the 2003 World Cup they could win every way. We could play nine, 10 -man rugby, 15-man rugby or a mixture in the same match. Wet ball, dry ball, mud, hard ground, altitude, hostile crowds, nothing fazed the class of 2003. The class of 2016 are not quite as experienced yet but many will be on the Lions tour next summer and that will aid their rugby education.

“Finally, in 2003 England were the fittest team in the world bar none. In 2016 England are very fit – but New Zealand are still fitter.”

Saturday’s win over Australia saw head coach Jones’ team match the record set by Woodward’s side in the run-up to the 2003 World Cup.

But the Aussie, who has won each of his 13 games in charge, agrees with the points Woodward was making.

“The 2003 side were a much better side than we are at the moment,” he said.

“They could win any number of ways. They had a very, very consistent scrum and line-out. We don’t have that yet.”


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