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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 November, 2003, 11:07 GMT
Woodward eyes future glory
Clive Woodward (left) with Prince Harry
Woodward has royal endorsement
Winning World Cup coach Clive Woodward says England can continue to dominate global rugby "forever" and expects his players to resist the temptation of retirement.

Woodward watched his team pip hosts and holders Australia 20-17 in a thrilling final.

But he refused to dwell on their heroic achievement, insisting that the challenge now was to carry on that success and make England the next rugby dynasty.

"This wasn't a Saga tour, and it's not a retirement party," he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"There has been no talk about player retirement.

"In fact it's been the complete opposite. The senior players like Martin Johnson, Neil Back and Jason Leonard have been saying they'll play on."

I want the success of England to go on forever so that we take over the mantle of the All Blacks and the South Africans
Clive Woodward

This may be attributable to the fact that Woodward admits he warned his players not to make hasty decisions.

"All I've asked them to do is not to make an immediate judgement," he said.

"I told them if I read about anybody retiring at the World Cup, I wouldn't pick them.

"The World Cup is very important, but playing for England is just as important and they'll realise this when they are no longer around."

Woodward hopes, in particular, that talismanic captain Johnson will return to lead his men into battle at the 2004 Six Nations, which starts in February.

Jason Leonard
Can even Jason Leonard soldier on?

"I really hope Johnson is there - along with the other 30 players - because they are in fantastic condition and there's no reason why they shouldn't carry on," he said.

That is potentially worrying news for the rest of world rugby and Woodward, who is under contract until 2007, makes it his clear priority to secure lasting global dominance.

"My job is to make sure that this continues.

"Sport is sport and you have to stay focused. The minute you think you've cracked it, you finish second.

"We are still a long way from the finished article and I don't want this to be a small blip in history," Woodward said.

"I want the success of England to go on forever so that we become the leading force in world rugby and take over the mantle of the All Blacks and the South Africans."

Links to more England stories


England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson
"I think I've learned a huge amount from being here"

England centre Will Greenwood
"I think we'll realise what we've achieved when we get home"

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