Why was Clive Woodward knighted?

Sir Clive Woodward is one of the most important figures in English Rugby history. He was the coach who led England to the Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003. However, there were still some people questioning why he was knighted. 

Why was Clive Woodward knighted? Clive Woodward was knighted for his contributions to Rugby Union, as the head coach of the England team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003. He was knighted a year later in the New Years honours for 2004. 

Clive Woodward was one of the names on the list of people to be knighted in 2004. Woodward was on the New Year’s Honours list to begin 2024, just a couple of months after England had won the Rugby World Cup. Prior to 2003, England had never won that title, losing in the final in 1991. 

Woodward was leading a squad that had gone out at the quarter-final stage four years ago. Despite that, they were the favourites for the tournament coming into it due to results like the 2003 Grand Slam and beating the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time since 1973.

England were the number-one-ranked team in the world heading into the tournament. 

But Woodward still had a very difficult task ahead of him as England faced some difficult challenges on their way through the competition. The final was not an easy one tactically. Woodward probably was not expecting the game to go to extra time and so Woodward had to make some big decisions. 

His decisions worked out as a last-minute drop goal from Johnny Wilkinson would see England win the World Cup. It was a massive achievement for England and many of the players were given MBEs in the months after the triumph. For leading England to the World Cup win, Clive Woodward was awarded a knighthood. 

Why did Clive Woodward resign? 

Clive Woodward quit as England’s head coach on the 1st of September 2004, less than a year after winning the Rugby World Cup with the team. There were a few different reasons for Woodward’s resignation from his position. 

When he chose to resign, Woodward said one of the key reasons he resigned was the politics of English Rugby and having to deal with Premiership clubs. The relationship between England Rugby and Premiership teams is 

difficult one because both want to keep the players healthy and play as few games as possible. 

Woodward had warned that top-level players were playing too much domestic rugby and England would not be able to continue to compete at the top level of international rugby if their players played so often. Woodward was looking to make changes to the domestic schedule which the Premiership disagreed with. 

This was one of the changes that Woodward saw England Rugby going through at the time. After the 2003 Rugby World Cup, crucial players like Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio had retired from international rugby. He found it difficult to manage some of the workloads of the new players coming into the team. 

The 12 months following the Rugby World Cup triumph did not bring great results for England. They lost to France and Ireland on the team’s way to finishing third, the year after winning the Grand Slam. It did not help that Johnny Wilkinson missed the tournament with major injury. 

Woodward was still the head coach when England toured Australasia in the summer. It was a terrible tour, with England failing to score a try in two games against New Zealand, before losing heavily to Australia. It was a terrible tour for England where they were missing a lot of the team who had won the World Cup the previous year. 

A combination of internal politics and poor performances eventually led to Clive Woodward deciding to resign from coaching the England rugby team. He did coach the British and Irish Lions in 2005, but it was a terrible tour where the Lions lost 3-0. 

Who did Clive Woodward coach after England? 

Despite leading the England Rugby team to World Cup glory, there was actually only one team that he coached after England. During his final year with England, Woodward was appointed as the head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the team’s tour of New Zealand in 2005. 

He was still the team’s head coach despite resigning from the England job in September 2004. It turned out to be a very poor tour for the Lions. The Lions had mixed success in the warm-up for the test matches, beginning the tour with a draw to Argentina. Their first loss came at the hands of New Zealand Maori. 

The Lions had some close losses before they headed into the first test match against New Zealand. The first test was incredibly physical, and just a couple of minutes into the game, Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder was dislocated when he was spear tackled into the ground by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu. 

It meant the Lions lost their captain just minutes into the game. New Zealand would defeat the Lions 21-3 in that first game. Despite scoring over 100 points in a single game between the first and second tests, England was comfortably beaten once again in the second test of the tour. 

The Lions did improve their play in that second test, but New Zealand were the dominant team and had a brilliant second-half performance. Despite more changes to the test team, the Lions still lost the final test, with New Zealand once again clicking in attack to punish the touring team. 

The tour did not go as successfully as many people had hoped. They won seven games while losing four, however the important figure was that this team lost 3-0 in the test matches against New Zealand. The expectations had been high for this tournament as they had an experienced squad and talented coaches. 

Woodward was criticised for his team selection as he often favoured the England players when there were better alternatives. It seems like the British and Irish Lions will be the only team that Sir Clive Woodward coached after England. 

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