Ruddock: Woodward has learnt lesson of history

Wales coach Mike Ruddock believes British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward has learnt from the experiences of the 2001 tour. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Wales coach Mike Ruddock believes British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward has learnt from the experiences of the 2001 tour.

Graham Henry – now coach of New Zealand – saw his Lions fall agonisingly short of victory on the pitch four years ago, losing the decider in the three-match series with Australia 29-23 after winning the first Test in some style.

But it was off the pitch where most of the problems lay, with some complaining the tour was too intense and several injured players having to fly home early.

But Ruddock, fresh from leading his troops to the Grand Slam in this year’s RBS 6 Nations, believes Woodward will not make the same mistakes this time round.

"Talking to Sir Clive, it was evident that he had done his homework," said Ruddock.

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"He has spoken to the players who went on the last Lions tour and there was a suggestion that they didn’t really enjoy themselves and didn’t enjoy the tour – it was too focused.

"There would have been a lot of pressure on Graham Henry and his staff because we were in the professional era and everybody had to be seen to be totally focused."

Ruddock added in Wales on Sunday: "You need the hard work and time out to see a bit of the country, do some sight-seeing and spend time together. That builds up the team spirit and I think he will get that part right.

"The main thing is to get results, but Sir Clive will get the balance right."

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