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Woodward wants Lions to prove themselves
23 May 2005 09:46am
Sir Clive Woodward has stirred his pride of Lions to prove themselves worthy of facing the All Blacks.
And Woodward has challenged his side - which features the likes of Gareth Cooper, Jonny Wilkinson and captain Michael Owen - to lay down a marker at the Millennium Stadium.
"You have one shot, one opportunity to do this and you want players who can step up to the mark in that big occasion. Every Lions game will be like that," said Woodward.
"We are looking for players who really can play under the pressure of that situation.
"This is totally unique what we are doing, what the Lions are about. It is about finding players who can compete at that level. It is about playing as a team and doing yourself justice on the night.
"We will go into the game with the one aim of wanting to win. We know we have got a better chance of moving forward if we win."
That will be Woodward's philosophy throughout the tour - win and move on. He has described it as keeping one eye on the next game and one eye on the first Test in Christchurch.
"My job is to give [tour captain] Brian O'Driscoll every chance of leading the Lions to a series win and any team that becomes predictable will get beaten," said Woodward.
"If we head into that first Test match against New Zealand with a predictable side then we are going to lose.
"We have got fantastic coaches here. They accept the challenge of going game by game. We are fully aware of what will happen in these Test matches.
"Since being given the job by the Lions committee I have done a lot of history of the Lions that I had never done before. Our record there is worse than any other country.
"We have all been there as players and I have been there as coach of England. It is a tough, tough place to go. It is their passion, it is their culture, but that is why you want to go.
"Rugby is their sport, it's what they pride themselves on. The sheer history of how successful we have not been, you realise what we are up against.
"That makes the challenge even greater and the opportunity even greater."
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