Only Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje from England made the cut for Sir Clive Woodward’s starting XV
Woodward named no Welshmen following their 3-0 Test series whitewash in New Zealand this month
The World Cup-winning coach claims there is still clear daylight between New Zealand and rugby’s chasing pack
England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has picked his World XV featuring players from seven nations on the back of the summer Test matches.
Writing in the Daily Mail, the former England coach argues that England are the closest side to New Zealand’s level, but are still not near being a severe threat to the All Blacks, despite Eddie Jones’ Red Rose pulling off their own whitewash Down Under this summer in beating the Wallabies 3-0 in their Test series.
“This England team won’t win the World Cup, although some of those playing in Sydney on Saturday will certainly provide the core of the team at the 2019 event in Japan,” says Woodward.
Clive Woodward’s World XV:
Israel Folau (Australia)
Ben Smith (NZ)
Sonny-Bill Williams (NZ)
Wesley Fofana (France)
Juan Imhoff (Argentina)
Owen Farrell (England)
Aaron Smith (NZ)
Kieran Read (NZ)
David Pocock (Australia)
Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia)
Eben Etzebeth (SA)
Maro Itoje (England)
Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)
Dane Coles (NZ)
Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)
“What the class of 2016 have done is restore pride, and an appreciation of the basics, and made English rugby believe in itself again. Now they must reboot and set their sights sky-high.”
In order for England to achieve these dizzying aspirations Woodward has stated that they need a large contingent of truly world class players within the squad, of which they currently have two:
“Rugby might be a team sport but great teams are made up of exceptional individuals and England still have only two players – Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje – who I would select for a World XV. If England are going to win a World Cup, that figure needs to be nearer seven or eight.
“From now on, every player needs to see himself competing in his own Olympic competition to be the best in the world in his position. By early 2019 they should aim to be the gold medallists in their positions.”
Woodward’s XV throws up one or two interesting names with a heavy southern hemisphere presence making up the core of the squad: