Following this evenings meeting, the British & Irish Lions would like to issue the following comments.
Bill Beaumont, Tour Manager and Chairman of the Lions Committee said "We thought it important to meet with Clive and the other members of the Committee following the events of last week.
"This we have done and, and the Committee continues to be fully committed to the appointment made earlier this year. Clive is the most qualified man to coach the Lions and will be taking the squad to New Zealand next summer.
"He has assured not only myself on a number of occasions but again this evening to the Committee that his commitment to the Lions is absolute."
Noel Murphy (Irish Rugby Football Union representative) added "No-one doubts the preparation that will be needed to face the challenges that await the Lions in New Zealand - this process began with the appointment of Clive in February, and he has reinforced to the Committee in person that he will not be taking on any other working commitments until the completion of what we hope will be an outstandingly successful British & Irish Lions Tour."
David Pickering (Welsh Rugby Union representative) commented "The key objective for the Lions is to win the Test series in the tough rugby environment that is New Zealand, to that end we need to make sure that there is the strongest coaching and management team in place and no-one can question Clive's achievements in rugby and the experience he will bring to the Lions position."
Gordon Dixson (Scottish Rugby Union representative) said "We have no doubt in the importance in the role that Clive will play with the Lions in 2005. As reaffirmed this evening, Clive now has even greater time to dedicate to the coaching role, liaison with coaching and management staff and identifying the best squad of 44 to tour to New Zealand.
Clive Woodward added "My complete focus is the Lions for the next nine months - there are no distractions either from within rugby or outside it. I am totally committed to the task of planning and delivering a programme that provides the players with the best possible chance of winning the Test series in New Zealand.
"After the Rugby World Cup, a successful British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand is the greatest challenge to face a rugby coach. In order to achieve this I will need to constantly involve, not just the players but their Clubs and Provinces, whose support will be vital for the success of the Tour."