Sir Clive Woodward gives his verdict on Lions XV

Sir Clive Woodward has heaped praise onto Lions head coach Warren Gatland for his attacking selection to face the All Blacks in the opening Test at Eden Park on Saturday.

He also congratulated Ireland flanker Peter O’Mahony on captaining the side.

And the man who led England to the 2003 Rugby World Cup is quietly confident of the tourist’s chances against the favourited All Blacks.

“They will start as underdogs but not massively so. I see a team and squad peaking at the right time – the stage is really set for an epic encounter,” wrote Woodward in his column for Mail Online. 



“There is clearly a sea change going on in rugby since the 2015 World Cup, when the southern hemisphere provided all four semi-finalists. Australia are declining sharply, Argentina standing still while South Africa have huge issues.

“An under strength England have just beaten the Pumas 2-0 in Argentina, Scotland have claimed a famous win in Sydney and frankly it is only New Zealand who are truly flying the flag for the southern hemisphere at present. Is this the occasion when they too crash to the northern hemisphere?”

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