Woodward to note Welsh achievement

The shutters have come down on Sir Clive Woodward's selection shop window after the 2005 Six Nations saw his British & Irish Lions selection landscape redrawn by Welsh rugby's renaissance men. [more]

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The shutters have come down on Sir Clive Woodward’s selection shop window after the 2005 Six Nations saw his British & Irish Lions selection landscape redrawn by Welsh rugby’s renaissance men.

When Woodward was appointed Lions supremo in February last year, the prospect of Wales providing a dozen or more players to this summer’s three-Test New Zealand tour seemed about as improbable as them being crowned Six Nations champions.

But now the latter feat has been achieved in such virtuoso style, mass recognition of Wales’ achievement is likely to come when Woodward unveils his Lions squad on April 11.

Star performers such as Tom Shanklin, Brent Cockbain and Martyn Williams – who was named Six Nations player of the tournament – have forced their way into Woodward’s thinking.

If sport is about form and momentum, then the Welsh representation will prove significantly greater than perhaps even their shrewd coaching operator Mike Ruddock thought possible pre-Six Nations.

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England’s World Cup-winning mastermind spent a week with the Welsh camp before a classic Millennium Stadium Test against New Zealand last November.

To say he was impressed would be a huge understatement, and with Wales subsequently sweeping all before them, the reward of Lions selection is imminent.

"What Wales have achieved in the past few weeks has been terrific," enthused Woodward.

"Everyone involved in the team has had an outstanding season.

"I’ve been at every single game of the Welsh team this year, and not only have they deserved to win the championship, but it’s the way they have played as well."

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