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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Woodward tactics exposed by All Blacks

Keith Wood
Former Ireland captain and British & Irish Lion

Doug Howlett breaks away from Lion Gareth Thomas
The All Blacks were going forward for 80 minutes
Lions coach Clive Woodward said after the game the team defended well.

That was disappointing.

I know he has to try and grasp the positives - but we simply never got over the gain line.

From shirts 1-15, the All Blacks got over the gain line at will and that was hard to watch and hard to stomach.

It did not look like this Lions team had played together - and in fairness they have not.

Most of the team had played one, or one and a half games together - and that is not enough.

On the two Lions tours I went on, each Test player would have played three or four games before he got to the Test.

That way you are building form and a level of continuity in that you are playing with other talented players that you get used to and understand.

No amount of training can make up for that - and it looked like it against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Hooker Shane Byrne has to take a chunk of the flak because he was picked for the line-out and did not throw particularly well.

Shane Byrne was replaced on 56 minutes
Byrne struggled with his throwing but can't take all the blame

But the rest of the line-out did not work well either.

There was an awful lot of hesitation over who was going where.

Several times the camera panned in to show players shouting "what's going on? What is the call?!".

There seemed to be and awful lot of confusion.

But for me the biggest problem was not the line-out but it was the attitude of the whole team.

They did not get over the gain line at any stage, they did not compete aggressively at any stage.

You have to look like you want to burst the All Black closest to you and that was not there.

Players who played with a level of form were not necessarily getting picked

It is understandable that Woodward is going to have a Test team in his head and it is up to the other guys to play their way in or the Test players to play their way off it.

But you need to play, and to understand if a guy is playing well he is in with a chance of getting a jersey.

Josh Lewsey had played really well at full-back but gets picked at number 14 even though he has only been in and out a few times there.

Ryan Jones had one chance and took it fantastically well and to be fair was named on the bench and was one of Lions best players against NZ.

But players who played with a level of form were not necessarily getting picked - there was a lot made of Gavin Henson being left out.

And it was hard for players to see (fly-half) Jonny Wilkinson who has played 20 minutes at centre (on this tour) getting picked at that position when you have three or four other centres out in New Zealand.

On the plus side if you are trying to grasp at something - at least they have all had a chance to play together now and maybe they can go on to play at a much higher standard.

Keith Wood was talking to Jill Douglas on BBC Radio Five Live.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Former Lions hooker Keith Wood



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