Woodward relishing Maori clash

British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward is looking forward to sending his side into battle against the best New Zealand Maori side assembled in over a decade. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward is looking forward to sending his side into battle against the best New Zealand Maori side assembled in over a decade.

The Lions are in for a bruising showdown on Saturday, with Maori coach Matt Te Pou having named 11 capped players in his starting XV.

That includes a giant front row that will challenge the Lions’ own jumbo trio of Andrew Sheridan, Steve Thompson and Julian White – a combination with the total weight of 54 stone, 10 pounds.

Sheridan is yet to start a Test for England but Woodward believes he can make a major impact on this tour.

"It’s his first start here. He made a big impact when he came on the other night against Bay of Plenty," said Woodward.

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"It is a big, big step up for him but also a huge opportunity.

"The more you can put your team up against world-class players the better it is for us because we need to find out about players.

"It is the strongest Maori team for a long long time because they have all their Test players playing for them, which from my point of view is fantastic."

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