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  Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 05:07 GMT 06:07 UK
Woodward slates Lions coach
Graham Henry with Martin Johnson
Henry consoles Martin Johnson after Test defeat
England rugby union coach Clive Woodward is reported to have strongly criticised the leadership of Lions boss Graham Henry.

Woodward believes management must shoulder part of the blame for damage caused by articles written by players on the tour of Australia.

The three-match Test series Down Under, dogged by acrimony, was lost with a defeat in Sydney on Saturday.

Matt Dawson had whipped up a storm when expressing his view that Henry's squad was being over-trained.


The highest standards have not been put forward by the Lions management
Clive Woodward, quoted in the Daily Mail

And Austin Healey also came under fire for derogatory remarks made about Australian players, and the nation as a whole, prior to Saturday's third Test defeat by the Wallabies.

Woodward is said to have made critical comments in an email he sent to rugby agents and the RFU, parts of which are reproduced in the Daily Mail on Tuesday.

While critical of both players, he believes bad examples have been set from the top down on this and past tours.

"The highest standards have not been put forward by the Lions management from the start of this trip," he said.

"They have not set the right example themselves. It is totally wrong for Graham Henry to be writing a book.

"If Matt (Dawson) or Austin (Healey) had done this in the England set-up, they could only expect one result. However, if you do not set high standards at the top in this area, how can you expect the players to follow?

"The coach must also use the same rules and not discuss matters that should remain within the team."

England coach Clive Woodward
Woodward makes his point

Woodward questions the off-the-field activities of some players.

"It is totally wrong for certain players to be writing books as well as using video cameras to make a behind-the-scenes film," he says.

"What happens away from the public eye must always remain away from the public eye if you are going to run a high-performance team 'till death us do part'.

"Only one player has let me down (Richard Cockerhill) and that was more out of stupidity than anything else, but that player has never been back even to a training session.

"I do not want to - in fact nobody wants to - work with players they cannot trust.

"I am not looking forward to the video or any of the books from the tour as rugby potentially will not be shown in the correct fashion."

Woodward has some sympathy with Dawson's plight, but insists he still made a poor decision in airing his views.


Austin Healey's bit was just staggering really
England coach Clive Woodward

"It was in many ways a gutsy thing to publish mid-tour - still totally wrong, though - rather than wait until the tour is over," said Woodward.

"Dishing the dirt then is real cowardice and breaks all the rules of trust and teamship.

"The 'handshake' agreement I have with the England team is very simple. Players can write books, papers, websites as long as no-one within the whole set-up will take offence."

And the England coach admits he found Healey's outburst 'staggering' and undoubtedly damaging to the Lions chances in Sydney.

"It scares me when players write in papers, especially on match weeks, as I think it gives the wrong impression of the athlete," added Woodward.

"Austin Healey's bit was just staggering really and do not underestimate the resolve an article like that can have on the opposition."


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