Woodward keeps Lions door open

Opportunity knocks at Twickenham on Saturday with Sir Clive Woodward including several hopefuls for this summer's Lions tour to New Zealand in his Northern Hemisphere side to face the South. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Opportunity knocks at Twickenham on Saturday with Sir Clive Woodward including several hopefuls for this summer’s Lions tour to New Zealand in his Northern Hemisphere side to face the South.

Although fund-raising is the primary objective of the IRB Aid match for Tsunami survivors, Lions coach Woodward is making no secret of the added incentives on offer.

Among those with everything to play for are Ollie Smith, Andy Titterell, Ben Cohen, Pat Sanderson, Chris Horsman, John Yapp, Chris Paterson and Simon Taylor.

"It’s a big game. The message really is that this is the rugby community trying to do something special for the Tsunami disaster," said Woodward.

But he pinpointed 22-year-old Leicester Tigers centre Smith as the player with possibly the best opportunity to shine in direct opposition to New Zealand skipper Tana Umaga.

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"It’s a competitive game and all the players will be competitors there, particularly Ollie who is looking forward to playing against the All Blacks captain," said Woodward.

"This will be nothing like what will happen in the summer. It’s an invitation game and both sides have just had a couple of sessions to get together but I’m looking forward to seeing how young Ollie Smith does against someone like Tana Umaga who we all know is a proven international."

World Cup winner Woodward insisted: "We have to keep our minds on why we are here, to raise funds for a needy cause."

However, he added: "I’ve definitely got another hat and, take out the French and Italian players, everyone comes into contention.

"I’m really looking forward to seeing and working with John Yapp, Horsman and Titterrell in the front row.

"I was very keen to start with them. Horsman is obviously having a big season and so is Yapp, so with the number of players we are taking on the trip there is a big chance for everyone who is in contention for the Lions.

"The back row speaks for itself with Lawrence Dallaglio captaining the team, it’s great to see Simon Taylor back playing and Pat Sanderson is also having a big season.

"You can go through the whole team really, Ollie Smith and Ben Cohen, both players who have a lot to prove, and to see Chris Paterson playing out of his international team will be interesting as well."

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