Woodward: Jones is my friend

2014-11-18 20:00
Sir Clive Woodward (Getty)

London - They may have been known for their verbal jousts when they were in charge of England and Australia respectively, but Clive Woodward insisted Tuesday he had long enjoyed a friendly relationship with Wallaby rival Eddie Jones.

Woodward's England beat an Australia side coached by Jones 20-17 in the 2003 World Cup final in Sydney, with Jonny Wilkinson's drop-goal deep into extra-time all that separated the teams come the final whistle.

It was the culmination of several years of hard-fought contests between the two sides, usually preceded by some lively 'mind games' from the two coaches.

However, Woodward -- speaking at the International Rugby Board Confex in London on Tuesday -- said he had always got on well with Jones.

"What people don't realise with me and Eddie is that we were good friends, we used to speak to each other on the phone and I used to hear what he had said in the press and he used to know what I had said in the press," Woodward explained.

"Did it get under my skin? Absolutely not, it was just a case of reading it and having a good chuckle, knowing you were going to have a beer together," Woodward added.

"I was probably more close to Eddie Jones than any other coach, but the press loved this rivalry which, to be fair, we both stirred up because it was a great rivalry to have between England and Australia and two very good teams."

England, now coached by Stuart Lancaster, and Australia, with Michael Cheika at the helm after Ewen McKenzie resigned following the fall out from the Kurtley Beale text pic affair, next meet at Twickenham on November 29.

In under a year from now they will be back at Twickenham for a 2015 World Cup pool clash in a 'group of death' also featuring Wales where only two teams can qualify for the quarter-finals.

As a coach, Woodward was renowned for seeking every possible legitimate advantage to boost his side's prospects, be it hiring an 'eye coach' to improve the players' peripheral vision and making his side change their on kit at half-time in a bid to avoid sluggish starts to the second half.

"We tried to find anything our main competitors weren't doing that would give us an edge," explained Woodward, whose 2003 side remain the only Northern Hemisphere team to have won the World Cup

The former England centre's attention to detail even extended to preparing for the consequences of a loss.

"I think it is important you practice and prepare for when things don't go well," he said.

"I remember in 2003 we had South Africa in our (World Cup) pool and months beforehand we discussed how we'd handle it if we lost that game, personally, collectively and with the media."

England beat the Springboks 25-6 in Perth on that occasion but have had rather more experience of losing lately, with Lancaster's side looking to snap a run of five straight defeats when they face Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

"For me, it is how you handle every single situation," Woodward said.

Read more on:    clive woodward  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.