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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 21:51 GMT
Woodward: Leading from the front
A profile of Clive Woodward, who was named Coach of the Year at the 2003 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.


Clive Woodward
Woodward survived a rocky period before it came good this year
Clive Woodward took over as England supremo from Jack Rowell in 1997, with the professional game in its infancy.

At the time, England had enjoyed considerable success within the confines of the northern hemisphere - but had made little progress elsewhere.

The former London Irish and Bath coach immediately set about revolutionising the international set-up, introducing a hand-picked backroom staff to ensure no stone was left unturned in the side's quest for glory.

He also made a series of bold decisions, including fast-tracking the introduction of rugby league convert Jason Robinson.

But the revolution took time to bear fruit.

His first tour as England coach in 1998 was a disaster - a weakened squad losing all seven games down under, including a 76-0 reverse against Australia.

For four straight seasons, England were denied the Grand Slam in the final match - and in 1999, he came under renewed fire when his side crashed out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals.

However, the Rugby Football Union kept faith with Woodward and they were rewarded when successive home wins over New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in 2002 established England as the world's number one side.

WOODWARD'S CAREER
Age: 47
I'national debut: 1980 v Ire
International caps: 21
1985: Coach Manly, Sydney
1991: Coach Henley RFC
1994: Coach L.Irish/Eng U21
1996: Bath assistant coach
1997: England coach
At the start of 2003, England finally shook the Grand Slam monkey off their back with a magnificent performance against Ireland in Dublin.

The squad then headed down under and took apart first New Zealand and then the Wallabies for the first time on Australian soil - setting a record 14-match winning streak in the process.

England were the team to fear at the World Cup, and while Jonny Wilkinson grabbed the headlines, it was the team's ability to adapt their game to each differing set of circumstances that gave them the edge over their rivals.

England's epic win over Australia sent the nation into wild celebrations - but Woodward allowed himself only a few days to wallow in the glory.

He was soon talking of next year's Six Nations and warning his World Cup winning stars that resting on their laurels would not be tolerated.





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