Sir Clive Woodward: Clear daylight between All Blacks and England

Waisake Naholo and Sam Cane celebrate a try against Wales. Photo / Getty
Waisake Naholo and Sam Cane celebrate a try against Wales. Photo / Getty

Rugby World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward says there is still clear daylight between the All Blacks and rugby's chasing pack.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the former England coach argues that England are the closest side to New Zealand's level, but are still not near being a severe threat to the All Blacks.

"This England team won't win the World Cup, although some of those playing in Sydney on Saturday will certainly provide the core of the team at the 2019 event in Japan," says Woodward.

"What the class of 2016 have done is restore pride, and an appreciation of the basics, and made English rugby believe in itself again. Now they must reboot and set their sights sky-high."

To do that, Woodward argues that England need more players who are the best in the world at their position - of which he believes they currently only have two.

"Rugby might be a team sport but great teams are made up of exceptional individuals and England still have only two players - Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje - who I would select for a World XV. If England are going to win a World Cup, that figure needs to be nearer seven or eight.

"From now on, every player needs to see himself competing in his own Olympic competition to be the best in the world in his position. By early 2019 they should aim to be the gold medallists in their positions."

Woodward has five All Blacks in his World XV, with Ben Smith, Sonny-Bill Williams, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read and Dane Coles getting the nod. Argentina have the second-most amount in his side, with three players.

Woodward says there is no must-win game for England in the near future, with Eddie Jones' side not taking on the All Blacks until November 2017.

Clive Woodward's World XV:

Israel Folau (Australia)
Ben Smith (NZ)
Sonny-Bill Williams (NZ)
Wesley Fofana (France)
Juan Imhoff (Argentina)
Owen Farrell (England)
Aaron Smith (NZ)
Kieran Read (NZ)
David Pocock (Australia)
Mamuka Gorgodze (Georgia)
Eben Etzebeth (SA)
Maro Itoje (England)
Ramiro Herrera (Argentina)
Dane Coles (NZ)
Marcos Ayerza (Argentina)

- NZ Herald

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