Woodward on All Blacks at World Cup and 2005 tour

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    26 Dec 2018     Getty Images

Reflecting on his coaching career, especially the Lions tour of 2005, Woodward said Lions tours tended to be distractions for the sides who made up the Lions, especially with the World Cup in mind.

The Lions drew the series in the 2017 tour but at the same time Woodward felt New Zealand learnt a lot from hosting the Lions.

"They're still rebuilding and I have this feeling they're going to turn up in Japan as the real gun team," he told SkySports.

At the same time Woodward said he wanted England or, if not them, any other northern hemisphere team to win, including France.

"We just need to break this cycle again, which has been too long since 2003 and I want a northern hemisphere team to win it," he said.

Reflecting on his coaching of the 2005 Lions tour in which the All Blacks claimed a 3-0 series win, Woodward said he hadn't applied for the Lions job because he had always had an issue with them.

"With England, I was just all about England, and thought the Lions got in our way. So I spent all my time really knocking the Lions because I think they do distract a team that's trying to win a World Cup.

"I got offered the job and thought that I should do it because I was the World Cup-winning coach, they wanted me to do it and I did it to the best of my ability," he said.

Woodward said he could look himself in the mirror and say that he threw everything at the job.

"I tried to do it a little bit differently, I took a big squad, but at the end of the day, why we lost was, number one: that All Blacks team was special – I've seen some special teams, been lucky enough to coach one amazing team in 2003, but that 2005 All Blacks team was them at their best," he said.

"It was an amazing team, they didn't have a single injury, they were right on their game and they were also playing at home.

"And if I could have picked my team that I wanted to play when I agreed to do this [job] 18 months out, like Wilkinson at his best, O'Driscoll at his best, O'Connell, Dallaglio at his best, I absolutely thought we could win.

"But when it came to it, and you just have to look at that first Test match, most of those players weren't there for whatever reason: injured, didn't make it, O'Driscoll gone in the first 30 seconds.

"At the end of the day, to win in New Zealand you've got to go down there with your absolute gun team, and you've got half a chance. But if you're not quite there for lots of reasons, you're going to get beat," he said.