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Wednesday, 13 May, 1998, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
England tour selection angers Aussies
A top Australian rugby official has launched a blistering attack on the decision to include 17 uncapped players in England's southern hemisphere touring side.

Australian Rugby Union chairman Dick McGruther said: "It's the greatest English sell-out since Anzac Day."

He was referring to the World War I battle at Gallipoli when 11,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers were killed under British command.

"I think the Rugby Football Union has treated the southern hemisphere with a degree of contempt," he added.

He suspected that clubs were putting pressure on their players to stay off the tour.

"It would be hard to prove, but it seems that with this touring party being decimated, that the employers are applying some pressure to these players."

Lawrence Dallaglio
Dallaglio: Left out of squad
England, captained by Northampton scrum-half Matt Dawson, will make the daunting seven-match trip without numerous star names including skipper Lawrence Dallaglio, Martin Johnson, Jeremy Guscott, Jason Leonard, Paul Grayson, Richard Hill, Phil de Glanville and Kyran Bracken.

Woodward said a combination of injuries, family commitments and burn-out presented him with no option but to name an inexperienced squad, whose most decorated player is 31-times capped Ben Clarke.

Woodward, whose squad tackle Australia, New Zealand (twice) and South Africa between June 6 and July 4, said he had expected to get some flak over the squad.

Clive Woodward
Woodward: Picked squad on merit
"I can understand the problem," he said. "I don't feel good about it, particularly as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were at full strength when they came over here before Christmas.

"But hand on heart, I have picked this squad on merit. If I was selecting a Test team to play this weekend, then guys like Lawrence, Martin Johnson and Jason Leonard wouldn't be in it."

Among the tour rookies are Sale quartet Matt Moore, Tom Beim, Duncan Bell and Pat Sanderson, Richmond wings Spencer Brown and Dominic Chapman, Leicester teenager Lewis Moody, plus London Irish scrum-half Peter Richards.

Martin Johnson
Johnson: Left out of squad
Woodward added: "Players who are going on tour have everything to gain, and if four or five can return home demanding to be in future England squads then that will be satisfying.

"Everything is geared towards the World Cup."

Dawson, England's third captain in 18 months after de Glanville and Dallaglio, said news of his elevation had come as "a complete surprise".

He will lead England into battle against Australia. Woodward declared that his pack in that game - injuries permitting - would be Graham Rowntree, Richard Cockerill, Phil Vickery, Danny Grewcock, Garath Archer, Sturnham or Clarke, Neil Back and Tony Diprose.

The full England Squad is:

  • Jos Baxendell
  • Nick Beal
  • Tom Beim
  • Matt Perry
  • Stuart Potter
  • Steve Ravenscroft
  • Peter Richards
  • Scott Benton
  • Spencer Brown
  • Dominic Chapman
  • Matt Dawson
  • Will Greenwood
  • Austin Healey
  • Alex King
  • Josh Lewsey
  • Matt Moore
  • Tim Stimpson
  • Jonny Wilkinson
  • Garath Archer
  • Neil Back
  • Duncan Bell
  • Steve Ojomoh
  • Graham Rowntree
  • Patrick Sanderson
  • Simon Shaw
  • Ben Sturnham
  • Phil Vickery
  • George Chuter
  • Ben Clarke
  • Richard Cockerill
  • Darren Crompton
  • Tony Diprose
  • Rob Fidler
  • Will Green
  • Phil Greening
  • Danny Grewcock
  • Lewis Moody
  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    BBC News
    Dick McGruther speaks to Radio 5 Live about England's "sell-out" (4'10")
    See also:

    10 May 98 | Rugby Union
    SA rugby boss quits
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