Clive Woodward Gives Controversial Reason For Celtic Team’s Poor Southern Hemisphere Records

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This is surely going to piss a lot of people off.

Former England head coach Clive Woodward has said that the emphasis placed on the British & Irish Lions by the Celtic teams is the reason for their poor record against southern hemisphere opposition.

Ireland enjoyed an excellent November last year, finally defeating the All Blacks and securing a win over the Wallabies, but traditionally their record is poor, as is both Wales’ and Scotland’s respective records.

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Woodward sat down for an interview with England head coach Eddie Jones in the Daily Mail, and the upcoming Lions tour was discussed in detail.

The World Cup-winning coach claims that the Celtic nations’ emphasis on the Lions, at the expense of their own national teams, is the ‘sole reason’ for their poor records against southern hemisphere sides.

“The Celts put a huge emphasis on the Lions, their big past-players are Lions legends, that’s almost how they made their names,” Woodward says.

“I read an article recently quoting Paul O’Connell, who I have huge respect for, saying that the Lions is bigger than playing for Ireland. I disagree. I played for the Lions and I never saw it as bigger than playing for England. I believe this is the sole reason the Celtic nations have such poor records against the Southern Hemisphere.”

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Just to clarify O’Connell’s comments, Woodward appears to stretch the meaning behind them.

The Six Nations will pay a price next season, club owners will pay a price. Guys will be worn out and injured. To me as a player, the Lions was the ultimate. I loved it. And I just think it should be looked after a little better in the calendar.” O’Connell said.

I think they’re playing their first game six days after the end of the domestic season. I’m tempted to say – what chance do they have? What chance do they have to spend a bit of time together to become a team, which is really, really important.

Do you think the Celtic nations put more emphasis on the Lions than their respective countries?

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Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]

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