England rugby a ‘laughing stock’ – Woodward

Date published: November 6 2015

Sir Clive Woodward has labelled English rugby as the laughing stock of world rugby following their early exit from their own Rugby World Cup.

England were beaten by Wales and eventual finalists Australia in Pool A – dubbed the Pool of Death – sealing their fate as the first host nation to be bundled out before the quarter-finals.

The 2003 World Cup winning coach revealed that the arrogant nature of England's RFU is partly to blame.

"We are the laughing stock of not only world rugby but also sport and business," he told the Daily Mail.

"The rest of the world says those involved in English rugby are arrogant. I hate this reputation but that is exactly what the RFU have been. The saddest part is the players and fans have been let down. To get it right on the field of play you have to get it right off the field.

"The RFU has spent the last four years congratulating itself on the direction in which we're heading but the truth is we have marched confidently into a total mess.

"The review after the 2011 World Cup was a shambles. Players and coaches let down by media leaks, good men exposed as scapegoats and lesser men hiding and shirking responsibility. Nothing has changed."

Woodward added that the RFU's appointment of Stuart Lancaster was a poor choice, as he had yet not proven himself at a higher level. 

"The panel chosen to identify Martin Johnson's successor somehow selected Stuart Lancaster, a coach lacking any true coaching experience at any level to prepare our national team for a home World Cup," added the 59-year-old. 

"Since then Lancaster and his team have been left exposed, as he and the RFU chose not to add any further expertise.

"The result was England failing to grasp what was required to challenge at the World Cup. After a second poor tournament in a row, the errors continue, illustrated by the personnel chosen to review Lancaster and England."