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Deeps
05-07-05, 18:07
Here's a dilemma...what would you do?

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous. Thoughtfulness is important for this evaluation to be meaningful Ready? You're in England... in London, to be exact. There is chaos around you, caused by a hurricane and severe and unusual floods. This is a flood of major proportions.

You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper caught in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is showing all its' destructive fury. You see a man in the Thames! He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away with the water and debris. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. Suddenly, you know who it is... it's Clive Woodward.

Isn't life ironic? At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under, forever. You have two options. You can save him or you can take the most dramatic photos of your life.

You can save the life of Clive Woodward , or you can shoot a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's sporting leaders.

Now, here's the question (please give an honest answer): Would you select colour film, or rather go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

Simon Griffiths
05-07-05, 18:07
I think black and white would be much better. It always seems to be the colour of choice for 'dramatic' shots - especially if you want it to tour in an exhibition as well as be put in a newspaper (as exhibitions have classy black and white photos).

Mike Whittaker
05-07-05, 22:07
Some would say the oldest jokes are the best... this exception may prove the rule.

Robert Burns
06-07-05, 12:07
Made me chuckle, thats good enough, lol

Simon Thomas
06-07-05, 16:07
I would take neither option, but relieve my self on my lunchtime pint just to make sure the river's waters were raging enough.

Mike Whittaker
06-07-05, 22:07
"..but relieve myself on my lunchtime pint..."

Trust this was not standard practice in the pub Simon .......

Simon Thomas
07-07-05, 09:07
No a special effort to make SCW disappears !

Anyone who can waste 10m, the potential an excellent group of players, and deliver such an incorrect tactical appraisal of what was needed to win a series against the All Blacks, deserves to be washed away.

threegatesexpress
07-07-05, 09:07
...and so SCW is castigated by one and all once again. Remember the start of his reign at England? After an initial lack of success, one and all called for his head. But he stayed, and just five years on managed to lift the world cup. Pity these Lions tours don't last a little longer. Five years longer.

OB..
07-07-05, 11:07
The phrase "on a hiding to nothing" seem painfully appropriate.

Obviously the buck stops with Woodward, but that does not mean you can exonerate everybody else, nor can we overlook how excellent the ABs have been.

My own judgement is that if Henry had been in charge of the Lions and Woodward in charge of the ABs, the results would not have been changed.

SimonSmith
07-07-05, 13:07
"..but relieve myself on my lunchtime pint..."

Trust this was not standard practice in the pub Simon .......

Touche, Mike. Mind you, if it's the regular pint that I have to endure over here (16 oz - short measure!, and weak!), it might improve the flavour....

didds
07-07-05, 13:07
which is my point all along.

Great bloke for the long term

So what chumps picked him for the short term?

didds

SimonSmith
07-07-05, 13:07
My own judgement is that if Henry had been in charge of the Lions and Woodward in charge of the ABs, the results would not have been changed.

Given Henry's track record with the Lions, probably not.
However, had Geech been in charge, with a different Manager, then things MIGHT have been different. I would put hard cash down that there would not have been the capitulation I've seen, the fundamentally flawed tactics, and the selections that no-one in his or her ritght mind can defend. There, the buck stops with Woodward and his team - Dave Alred? Waste of money. Phil Larder - not exactly seeing value for money there....

Mike Whittaker
07-07-05, 15:07
Touche, Mike. Mind you, if it's the regular pint that I have to endure over here (16 oz - short measure!, and weak!), it might improve the flavour....

Now that you remind me of your beer drinking..... however post was aimed at Mr Thomas whose public house involvement has been rather more intensive!!

Mike Whittaker
07-07-05, 15:07
Oh the wonders of hindsight...

If anybody else apart from SCW had been given the job then it would have been ridiculed around the world.

The ABs would have traded this series for the RWC any day! Let us make sure they don't forget it...

OB..
07-07-05, 18:07
the selections that no-one in his or her ritght mind can defend.It's that sort of swineging criticism that I do not buy into. I am aware it is "just a turn of phrase", but I do not personally feel I know enough about coaching those players at that level to be sure I know better than Woodward (and his team).

He has seen the players thoughout the season, and subsequently in training, and he knows what he wanted from them. For example, it is generally held that he selected Byrne for his better throwing. The lineout failed, and presumably Byrne was in part responsible. He was replaced.

You also blame WoodWard for "capitulation". Why? Could it not be that the players under-performed (or perhaps the ABs over-performed) and lost confidence?

How do you know Dave Alred was a waste of time?

I think the basic problem is the underlying, unstated assumption that the Lions OUGHT to have won.

didds
07-07-05, 22:07
No hindsight from me - I said it when he was appointed.

I also staked my claim with Bernard Laporte who had just done some great thuigs with a very young and expereinced french team in less than a year.

I'll accept that he then broke it all!!


But SCW was NEVER my man for the reasons described previously.

didds

SimonSmith
08-07-05, 12:07
It's that sort of swineging criticism that I do not buy into. I am aware it is "just a turn of phrase", but I do not personally feel I know enough about coaching those players at that level to be sure I know better than Woodward (and his team).

He has seen the players thoughout the season, and subsequently in training, and he knows what he wanted from them. For example, it is generally held that he selected Byrne for his better throwing. The lineout failed, and presumably Byrne was in part responsible. He was replaced.

You also blame WoodWard for "capitulation". Why? Could it not be that the players under-performed (or perhaps the ABs over-performed) and lost confidence?

How do you know Dave Alred was a waste of time?

I think the basic problem is the underlying, unstated assumption that the Lions OUGHT to have won.

Wow. OK, so where to start?
I said as soon as SCW was announced that my concern was that he had very little track record in quikc results: his success with England was built over a long period, with constant tweaking - it was clear that he wouldn't have that luxury with the Lions.

As for his selections, there is a worrying lack of consistency in approach: he said that he would pick on form. Can you honestly, hand on heart, say that he has done that. What was the justification for picking JW at 12 when a Peel/Jones/Henson axis had been working successfully?
Why in the name of God was Lewsey, who had looked like one of the few players who could even be considered close to getting in to the NZ team, moved to the wing so that Robinson - who has achieved NOTHING, and shown no form recently - could go to full back? What does Cusiter have to do to get in ahead of Dawson? ANd what Shaw has done to make sure that the two Irishmen get picked ahead of him God alone knows.

Alred a waste of money? I've seen better kicking down the local park. Exactly what value for money did we get from him? If I was running a business, SCW would be asked to justify his expenditure - what was the ROI on ALred? On Campbell?

Capitulation? That was a little harsh. Let me try to encapsulate what I'm trying to exemplify: look at the Tests from the '97 Tour; look at the the Tests from '05 - the players aer playing to the same level of intensity that they were then. The body language is screaming volumes to me. And who bears the responsibility for that? SCW.

I didn't expect the Lions to win - I thought the series would be tight. But I expected that they would be given their best chance so to do, and that hasn't happened.

OB..
08-07-05, 14:07
What was the justification for picking JW at 12 when a Peel/Jones/Henson axis had been working successfully?I can think of several possibilities. The Peel/Jones/Henson axis had been part of a successful Wales team in the 6N. That does not in itself mean they would be the best combination against the ABs. Hindsight does not suggest they would have made a difference. We know that Wilkinson had an extra gear before his injuries. If Woodward saw in training that he was likely to produce it again, then the gamble was worth trying.

However the forwards' failure meant that no backs combination had a reasonable chance to show its paces.


Why in the name of God was Lewsey, who had looked like one of the few players who could even be considered close to getting in to the NZ team, moved to the wing so that Robinson - who has achieved NOTHING, and shown no form recently - could go to full back?Woodward has shown that he likes players to switch depending on the field position. I agree Robinson seems to have gone off the boil, but again, we have not had the benefit of seeing them training.


What does Cusiter have to do to get in ahead of Dawson?Be better than Peel and different from him. Dawson offers an alternative if Plan A is not working, Cusiter is just more of the same but not quite as good. Only my theorising, of course, but it seems plausible on what I have seen (which is much less than Woodward has seen).

Look at the case of Shane Byrne: he was (everybody thinks) picked ahead of Thompson because of his throwing. I don't remember any outcry against that decision, but something went badly wrong. In part it may have been due to the supporters and jumpers, and of course the opposition. But most people agreed with dropping him.


I've seen better kicking down the local park.No. you haven't.

There were some interesting statistics on kicking on the RFU site. If you look at this charthttp://www.pshortell.demon.co.uk/rugby/kicking2004.jpg you will see that ZP kickers are better than those at lower levels, who are much of a muchness. I think that is good evidence of the significance of professionalism. We are dealing with small margins, and I do not have a metric to determine how much effect Alred had on tour. He certainly has a very good reputation, and he appears to have the confidence of the kickers.


The body language is screaming volumes to me. And who bears the responsibility for that? SCW.The buck stops with Woodward, yes. But that does not mean that in reality everything was his fault. Many players, particularly in the forwards, under-performed. I don't pretend to know why, but I suspect the over-performance of the ABs had quite a bit to do with it.

In general, people only seem interested in exaggerated criticism of Woodward. I would much prefer to see a balanced analysis, but passions and disappointment are apparently running too high for that.

Simon Griffiths
08-07-05, 16:07
Someone's been having some bad day's at the office - that chart only goes up to 1% success rate! :D

I do tend to agree with OB's points. (Although I too saw no logical reason for Robinson starting, let-alone at full-back). We are not party to training and how players are performing in it - who has the right attitude, the right work ethic etc. Despite this I still feel that in these situations a much greater emphasis on match performance is needed - although SCW has shown throughout history that he picks on past form rather than current (personal opinion).

Then of course you have the problems with agreement on selection - we're never all going to agree on who should play - I'd bet anything on some-one, some-where selecting a player who most others would not, and vice-versa. Given the teams that the fans would pick, I would suspect that together, every player in the squad would have been selected - my team would be different from yours, and both different from SCW's - it doesn't make any of them wrong.

I didn't agree with taking half of the population of Britain and Ireland as either players or support staff. Campbell - what for? Alred - kicking is a reflex that is drilled into you by hours of practice - no doubt Alred is a world class kicking coach, but like SCW he needs a long time because his methods involve changing the foundations - which inevitably cause the rest to crumble, admittidly (over time) to be re-built with a stronger structure. You cannot take so many players - they will not gel (ridiculously I read that he felt he should have brought more - I'm already disappointed that I haven't been called up!). Also, too many coaches - not enough time with each to build up systems etc. These were his mis-judgements (from my point of view), but he has been over-criticised (it was always going to happen though - he's English).

Finally, you have to look at the players. OK the systems didn't function and the tactics were naff - but you'll never win if you can't pass or catch! A factor that has been over-looked in search of a scape-goat.

I personally have a distinct distaste for SCW, but I like to think I'm more of a realist - he made mistakes, but everyone does, others on the tour did too - but I do believe he has to stomach a lot of the blame - just as I feel Henry has to take a lot of credit.

SimonSmith
08-07-05, 18:07
Noddy put it better than I did.
And I would maintain that I have seen better kicking down the park than I have seen from some of the Lions.

I agree - we could all have picked very different Lions' sides. What can't be argued with is the fact that SCW's picks seem to have been arbitrary, and his reasoning has been illogical and inconsistently applied.

Cueto apparently got the nod because SCW felt he deserved a shot - well, how the hell that argument didn't apply to Bulloch, or Shaw is beyond me.
He then says that the reason Bulloch didn't get picked was because he wouldn't be fresh as a result of playing vs Auckland - that argument clearly didn't apply to any of the other picks in the squad who played against Auckland.

If it was the forward's failure, why were the backs changed almost wholesale?

Yes, SCW has had the advantage of seeing them in training. The fact remains, there has been massive underdelivery at game time. That's his responsibility. And if those players were genuinely the best from training, then GB has got a huge problem.

Simon Thomas
08-07-05, 20:07
As far as I am concerned SCW was a CEO with 10m budget to deliver a simple goal - a test series win in New Zealand.

He had ample preparation time, his pick of support personnel, his chosen COO (Robinson - who should have been in Canada with England), and specialist managers in all areas (many of whom he had previous working relationships with).

His raw materials were adequate but he was unable to deliver the finished product. Some selections were bizzare in the extreme and his man management appears to be somewhat erratic.

Personally I feel cheated and badly let down - but unlike a company where the board of directors would have to answer to their shareholders, SCW will now move off to soccer with Southampton FC.

SimonSmith
08-07-05, 20:07
Bravo, ST.

OB..
09-07-05, 13:07
What can't be argued with is the fact that SCW's picks seem to have been arbitrary, and his reasoning has been illogical and inconsistently applied.Since we have not been privy to his selection meetings, and have not had much more than a few off-the-cuff comments on the reasons for various selections, that comment strikes me as ill-founded. I most certainly do argue with it.


As far as I am concerned SCW was a CEO with 10m budget to deliver a simple goal - a test series win in New Zealand.So you are seriously saying that he OUGHT to have won the series?


His raw materials were adequate Not in my eyes they weren't.


there has been massive underdelivery at game time. That's his responsibility.Take today:
O'Callaghan's failure to pass to the unmarked men outside him.
The Lions failing to react in time to defend a quick tap penalty.
Ryan Jones arguing with the referee and converting a long penalty into a kickable one.
Stephen Jones missing a tackle on McAlister for Umaga's first try.

These were blunders by the players. Surely nobody believes they were coached to do that?

As Woodward himself said, he is in charge so the buck stops with him, but this determination to blame him and him alone for the failure is wildly overdone.

OB..
09-07-05, 14:07
Alred - kicking is a reflex that is drilled into you by hours of practice - no doubt Alred is a world class kicking coach, but like SCW he needs a long time because his methods involve changing the foundations - which inevitably cause the rest to crumble, admittidly (over time) to be re-built with a stronger structure.Not on tour. I think his job is to oversee kicking practice, make minor adjustments if necessary, and help the kickers retain their confidence. His presence makes sure their specialist needs are not overlooked in the general mayhem.

didds
10-07-05, 00:07
hear hear OB.

The skill levels of most of thiose elite, professional players are appalling - 2 years agi they were better players. Some of the errors made I would be gutted at with the LEVEL 8 players I coach., How can a professional not understanbd that to take a pop pass frm a ruck after slow ball you MUST be running FORWARDS at PACE? I spent 20 mins woith an excercise to underpin that last wednesday with a county 1st division side!

didds

SimonSmith
11-07-05, 13:07
As Woodward himself said, he is in charge so the buck stops with him, but this determination to blame him and him alone for the failure is wildly overdone.

I'm not aware that I was blaming him alone, but I am placing the bulk of the blame on his shoulders.

I don't think my comments are ill founded. I'm basing them on the words coming out of Woodward's own mouth. If we can't take it direct from the horse's mouth , so to speak, then who can we take it from? If he had a coherent reason for his selections, then he had ample opportunity to espouse it. So far, a lack of coherency.

These were blunders by the players. Surely nobody believes they were coached to do that? - nope. But the mark of good coaching is that the players DON'T do that. I can remember the '97 Lions, backs against the wall, not giving up any penalties. You could hear the organization and the leadership and determination - all of which has been largely absent.
Is that the players' fault? Yes, largely. But I believe that the environment hasn't been created to allow the players to flourish.

I still go back to my original premise: SCW proved his worth over time, with endless tweaking and altering. He did not have any kind of track record that meant he was an outstanding Lions candidate. And before anyone calls "bandwagon/hindsight", I said this before the tour....

Davet
11-07-05, 13:07
The performance of many of the players was less than wonderful.

I think, however, that even so there were some managerial decisions, which in restrospect look like poor ones - and yes hindsight is fine tool. When the plans were drawn up regarding the size of the party then I, like many felt that the arguements in favour of 45 players were worth a go. That plan has now been tried, and has shown itself flawed. The players did not get nearly enough game time together. The potential flexibility was fine, but it meant that there were simply too many options available, and players did not get chance to build together.

In addition Woodward did seem to pick on reputation, class, not form. He said himself that this was not a development tour, not a tour to build a team that would go well over the next few seasons. The saying about class being permanent and form only temporary is very true, but in the circumstances of a Lions tour then form is more important. I'm sure the class of many of those who underperformed will make itself clear in the long term, but Lions tours are short term.

Finally there seemed, from a distance, to be no real leader on the pitch. Nobody who had the authority and personal respect to rally people round and point them in the rirection. Thomas seemed to be growing into the role of captain, but was not quite there. O'Driscoll, even before his injury, was not filling the role. Dallaglio was sorely missed, not merely as a player, but as a leader on the park.

threegatesexpress
11-07-05, 15:07
[QUOTE=Simon Thomas]As far as I am concerned SCW was a CEO with 10m budget to deliver a simple goal - a test series win in New Zealand.

I doubt that a budget of 30m could have produced a team to beat this All Blacks side. I just can't wait for the Tri-Nations; that will emphasise the brilliance of this generation of All Blacks.

OB..
11-07-05, 21:07
I particularly agree about leadership on the pitch. I never felt comfortable with O'Driscoll. He was undoubtedly well respected, but that is not enough. If Dallaglio had been there, he would have taken charge of matters like failing scrums and lineouts.

Mind you, I still doubt if we could have won!

didds
12-07-05, 20:07
And before anyone calls "bandwagon/hindsight", I said this before the tour....

that at least makes two of us then Simon :-)

didds