England score massive Six Nations own goal and accused of ‘devaluing international rugby’

England’s Six Nations victory over Wales has not come without controversy.

Sir Clive Woodward, a legend in rugby, feels that England’s selection process has resulted in a “massive own goal” during the Six Nations.At Twickenham on Saturday, Steve Borthwick’s team defeated Wales 16–14 to make it two victories from two, but they did not earn a bonus point either Italy or the Welsh.

There was a lot of discussion leading up to the game about how exciting Twickenham would be and how it would terrify England’s opponents while also providing spectators with a better matchday experience.

After losing to Fiji last year, England was jeered off the field, but in their first home match since that day, they were able to put a smile on fans’ faces after overcoming a big scare against a young Wales team.

Captain Jamie George had submitted several suggestions to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in an attempt to improve the scenes inside Twickenham. A longer ‘fan walk’ to the dressing room took place and new caps’ names were already up on the honours board inside the changing area, but Woodward believes that a major barrier is still to be overcome.


Sir Clive Woodward has informed England how to improve the Twickenham experience. (Image: Getty)

“I was at Twickenham as a fan on Saturday. There has been a lot of talk about getting a connection back between the team and supporters and improving the matchday experience,” Woodward wrote for the Daily Mail. “My message to the RFU would be to forget the gimmicks like light shows, DJs and bands which are designed to get the crowd going. You can’t force fun.

“There is no need to try and create it. If England can play in a way that gets fans off their seats with excitement, then the Twickenham atmosphere will take care of itself. A good start would be getting the best players on the field. The sight of Henry Arundell in the Twickenham hospitality boxes rather than on the field on Saturday was another massive own goal that is just devaluing international rugby, selection for which should be sacrosanct.”

RFU rules state that players based abroad cannot be selected for England, as Racing 92’s Arundell watched on from the comfy seats. The rule, which was introduced in 2011, is to protect the quality of the English league by ensuring that the top internationals play in it.

But a lot of players have chosen to go and find work overseas. The most recent and prominent one is former captain Owen Farrell, who qualified for the Six Nations without playing before finalizing his relocation to France.

Borthwick has already insisted that the policy be reexamined, and this is not the first time Woodward has expressed such views. In the past, he has stated that if he had been in Borthwick’s shoes, he would have resigned as an executive.

However, the current manager is still constrained in the players he can choose to represent his nation. And Woodward thinks that having the option to choose his best players would be a definite way to lift the atmosphere at Twickenham.

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