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Woodward Remains Upbeat

24th May 2005 By Munster Rugby

Woodward Remains Upbeat

Clive Woodward was putting a brave face on things after his Lions scraped a last-gasp draw against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium, according to Simon Thomas of The Western Mail.

Clive Woodward was putting a brave face on things after his Lions scraped a last-gasp draw against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium, according to Simon Thomas of The Western Mail.

Clive Woodward was putting a brave face on things after his Lions scraped a last-gasp draw against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium, according to Simon Thomas of The Western Mail.

Woodward admitted he was disappointed with his team’s performance and the result, but expressed delight that they come through unscathed without any injuries.

He also paid tribute to the captaincy of Welshman Michael Owen, who instructed Jonny Wilkinson to go for goal with the penalty eight minutes into injury-time that earned a share of the spoils – hardly an instruction, given the circumstances – that will go down as one the bravest in the history of rugby.

"We didn’t expect to draw. We were hoping to win the game," admitted Woodward.

"But the biggest thing to me was getting through the game without any injuries. I’m just delighted that everyone has come through healthy. I thought Michael Owen captained the team superbly. He made the right calls at the end.

"It was definitely the right thing to go for that kick because the ref was about to blow for full-time. He captained the team well under pressure."

Speaking of the reasons why his side made life so difficult for themselves against a second, and in some cases, third string Puma side, Woodward said, "This game is about keeping ball and we didn’t do that as well we wanted to. We just turned over too much ball. But let’s build from here.

"It was a difficult game. It’s the first time the Lions have played a match like this before going on tour. It was a good work-out. We’ve got to move on from here now and not over-react either way. Our feet are firmly on the floor and we are just looking forward to the tour and building for the first Test match starting with our opening match against the Bay of Plenty.

"I have always been very clear about how difficult this whole thing is going to be. The history of playing in New Zealand shows that. The Lions have been there 10 times and lost nine times. We didn’t need this performance to remind us of that.

"We’ve got through our first game and now we can start to work on key parts of our game like the contact area. We lost the ball on too many occasions and we need to work on that. But it’s all about getting to the first Test match with the best prepared Lions team possible and this started that process. We got the draw and it’s put everybody’s feet firmly on the ground.

"I am just delighted no-one is injured and we can go on and prepare for the Bay of Plenty game now."

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