By Kath Updatd 8/2/04
September 3 2004
Sir Clive Woodward undoubtedly is the most successful England Rugby Football Coach there has been! Clive has single-handedly changed England's fortunes on the rugby pitch, but what do we know about the man?
Well we have the usual facts and figures listed in the match programme:-
Born:6.1.56 in Ely. Playing History: England -(21 caps 1980-84), Lions, Loughborough University, NEC Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, Manly. Coaching: England (1997), England Under 21s, Manly, Henley Hawks, London Irish and Bath.
But, I would ask the question, what do we know about the man?
Well, after his hard work and dedication to the cause of English Rugby, he has been awarded a Knighthood. Sir Clive received his first honour of OBE in June 2003 and during that year he won a place in Rugby's Hall of Fame and was named as the UK's Coach of the Year. 2003. On receiving his Knighthood Sir Clive said
"I am honoured and delighted to receive a knighthood. However, it is also a tribute to every member of the squad, the coaches, management and the Zurich Premiership clubs, who have all made a significant contribution to our success".
2003 was a glittering year for Sir Clive! He took charge of the national side six seasons ago and you could say that his 'Five Year Business Plan' was completed in November 2003 with interest! Before the single point defeat by France in August 2003 under his direction, England achieved the best sequence in their history 14 straight Test Wins with back-to-back victories over Australia and New Zealand on their own soil. A feat of historic proportions! The side set a championship record of 29 tries in 2000-01, they have made Twickenham a Fortress with 23 consecutive matches unbeaten at one venue and last season took the Grand Slam and the finest prize of all, the 'Rugby World Cup' in Australia.
So, what do we know of the man?
Sir Clive is a family man, can be very charming and on the other hand, he is tough, strong, determined, motivational, visionary, feisty, a planner, a stickler for discipline and ruthless a good blend of all the qualities needed to achieve success whether it be in business or sport. He is also a coach who believes mental strength is just as important as physical strength.
Sir Clive is a meticulous planner, everything he does is planned to the last minute detail. Every aspect of the game plan is covered from the psychology to the drills, from the accommodation to the media. A prime example of this planning was the stopover on the way home from their historic win over New Zealand and Australia in June 2003. A three-day reconnaissance trip was planned into the tour, to examine the facilities in Perth prior to their 'World Cup' campaign. Everything would have been checked out during those three days down to the last detail. Sir Clive also being media wise, took the opportunity of building local support for England allowing some of the England players to visit local schools in the area, donating their Zurich tackle bags and other equipment. Good public relations high on the agenda in this man's book.
Sir Cive is a coach who will stand no nonsense from players, he expects 110% and he gets it. There have been players who in the past have stepped out of line and they have bitten the dust because of it. It is perhaps unfair to make a comparison with the Lions Tour, when we had 'Diarygate' and tantrums within the camp from some England representative players. Never, Never would any England player in this present squad dare to do that with this Head Coach. The England players respect Sir Clive and know exactly what is expected of them.
Sir Clive's coaching style is based on sound business principles before coming into the job, he set up a successful computer-leasing company that made him a millionaire. Many of the principles he adhered to in business have influenced the way he runs the England set-up and together with, the funding from the RFU a new 'Model' for rugby union has been laid down. After the Grand Slam win, the RFU extended his contract through until 2007 and it is understood by most that the British Lions 2005 Coaching job is his - if he decides to take it?
Sir Clive has had his wacky moments of course with the media, he sometimes can fly off the handle and tends to lambaste individuals after matches, recent examples of this being Eddie Jones (Australian Coach) and controversial one aimed at Rob Andrew straight after the first win against Australia at Twickenham. Which then led to accusations by Clive of a conspiracy between some ex England players to unseat him? That of course is now all history.
Sir Clive is a players coach, he inspires, motivates and moves with the times. All England elite players are given a laptop computer so that he can stay in touch with them and apparently he sends them frequent emails daily. He has taken training to a new scientific level, using all the latest technology to turn his team into world beaters. A further example of his innovative style, is the new 'all-in-one' body suit that he had wanted the players to wear for the 'World Cup', which aids speed and dynamics but the IRB have turned it down - as its not in the rules!
Sir Clive is also ruthless true to form after winning the Rugby World Cup - he named January 1st 2004 as the day to stop the partying and to move on! Therefore, all England players be warned!
Sir Clive had a vision and he has lived it! The lucky ones are those players involved in such a professional set up and even luckier are we the fans who have watched with pleasure and awe at the momentous achievements Sir Clive Woodward and the England Team have given us.
Sir Clive said "My only goal when I took over was for England to be the best team in the world." His ambition finally became reality in Sydney's Telstra Stadium on Saturday, 22 November, 2003.
May the 'The English Rose' continue to flower for decades to come under his leadership.
Updated 8/2/04: Sir Clive Woodward OBE had been appointed Head Coach of the 2005 British and Irish Lions. RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron OBE said today, ďIím delighted that Clive has been awarded the honour.
Updated 3/9/04: Sir Clive Woodward has resigned as England Head Coach with immediate effect. We wish him well for the future.
Sir Clive Woodward (Man of Vision).