Woodward wants Six Nations upgrade

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 11:56
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NEWS: Former England coach Clive Woodward has urged the Six Nations to become a straight five-week tournament to boost Europe's chances of producing another World Cup-winning side.

Woodward is the only northern hemisphere coach to have been in charge of a World Cup-winning side, guiding his native England to glory in the 2003 final against Australia - whose then coach Eddie Jones is now in charge of England.

The Six Nations starts this weekend but does not finish until March 18, with 'rest weeks' built into the tournament.

And that is no way to prepare for a World Cup, according to Woodward.

"At the last World Cup [in England in 2015], Europe produced zero semi-finalists," Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column published Thursday.

"Only one European team (England) has ever been ranked No 1 in the world. The big question we should be asking is why?

"The Six Nations needs to look at the bigger picture and offer a platform from which European teams can collectively take on the world.

"It needs an upgrade and must become a straight, five-week tournament from next year onwards,"

Woodward pointed to the schedule Australia endured on their way to reaching a 2015 World Cup final where they lost to New Zealand as something Europe's elite needed to replicate on an annual basis.

"When Australia reached the final in 2015 they played six huge matches — Fiji, Wales, England, Scotland, Argentina and New Zealand — in the space of 39 days.

"That's what happens at World Cups. That's the kind of schedule you deal with.

"In New Zealand this summer the rump of the [British and Irish] Lions team will play the Crusaders, New Zealand Maori and the full three-Test series in 29 days. Let's just say that will be no picnic, either,"

Former England and Lions centre Woodward also called for an end to the competition's 'closed shop' saying it was time to introduce promotion and relegation so that emerging countries such as Georgia had a target to aim at.

"Let's have a relegation play-off each season...Nobody should be immune from failure," he insisted.

"It isn't acceptable anymore that Georgia can win eight of the last nine European Nations championships yet be denied the chance to play-off for a place in the Six Nations."

Agence France-Presse

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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0