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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
Angry Woodward hits out
Sir Clive Woodward
I am so disappointed with what has happened after the World Cup, I can't believe we have gone backwards
Sir Clive Woodward on his decision to resign
Sir Clive Woodward has hit out at the Rugby Football Union after leaving his job as England's head coach.

Woodward was angry at the deal struck with the Premiership clubs over access to England players.

"It was clear to me that when we came back from the World Cup I felt totally out of control," he said.

"I went into the same meetings with the same faces and heard the same things. I wanted more and we have ended up with less. I'm not prepared to compromise."

In a fiery news conference that lasted more than an hour, Woodward made clear his frustration that his plans to take England forward after the World Cup last November were rejected by his bosses at Twickenham.

"I do not accept we have moved forward. My suggestions on doing that were just dismissed. You can't take short cuts," said Woodward.

"We need more access to the England team as we have a new team. Now is the time to rebuild.

"I am so disappointed with what has happened after the World Cup. I can't believe we have gone backwards. If I had far more control of the players and if I could do my job then I'm sure I would be staying.

"We won the World Cup by inches. You cannot compromise. We won the World Cup because we had an outstanding set of players.

"We prepared properly. But agreements have taken place between the RFU and clubs that on paper look great. They're not in reality.

"My mindset was we had a clear plan of how we were being successful, and that has been watered down.

"We sat around the negotiating table with people who, with respect, have no idea about elite performance."

Woodward's resignation marks the end of a dreadful week for England, who have also seen captain Lawrence Dallaglio stand down.

And Woodward believes the number of games the top players are being forced to play is not good for the national team.

"In most sports you have a level playing field - but I don't think England have one in the way the other countries do," said Woodward.

"When you see your top players dropping out because they are absolutely run-down you have to say 'enough's enough'.

"You make your point and people aren't listening. Players today are playing too many games.

"These are young men who are not at their best and to be an elite performer you have to control the athlete all the time - and the England head coach has to have more control of his players.

"Control of the players is everything and you can't control them through directors of rugby. It's like trying to run a business without a workforce."

Robinson should be appointed. He thinks he can work within this compromise
Sir Clive Woodward
Despite standing down from the England job, Woodward insists he will be fully concentrating on leading the Lions tour to New Zealand next summer.

"I will be taking up no other employment until after the Lions. This season is about the Lions and nothing else," he said.

"I am 100% committed to the Lions. My commitment to them is absolute.

"I want to work with the Welsh, the Irish, the Scots. That's what I intend to do."

Woodward went on to confirm media reports that he is interested in a move to football but said it would have to wait until after his Lions' commitments were over.

Southampton are his most likely destination but Woodward said he would take no "jobs in any capacity" with the club until after the Lions tour.

He also backed caretaker England coach Andy Robinson to take the position on a permanent basis.

"Robinson should be appointed. He thinks he can work within this compromise," said Woodward.

"If the guy leading it doesn't then it is right to stand down but Andy has my total backing."

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