Clive Woodward has claimed he felt disrespected when he didn’t get the France job following the 2015 World Cup after he had been shortlisted to succeed Philippe Saint-Andre.
The 2003 World Cup winner was on an eight-strong shortlist of candidates for the job in May 2015. However, to his fury, he was told after his presentation that despite being the best candidate they had interviewed, the job had already been given to Guy Noves.
In an extensive interview with Midi Olympique, the bi-weekly French rugby newspaper, the former England boss explained: “They came to me at the end of my presentation. They told me that I was their best candidate by far, but that the post was already filled… the call for applications was obviously a big joke, a big mess. I looked at them, and asked, ‘But why did I come?’”
Woodward had gone to Paris with every ambition of landing the job and getting back into the Test rugby hot-seat he has last occupied when in charge of the 20o5 Lions in New Zealand. “I went with the belief that I could have the job. I was really motivated. I had already booked a French school in London to get on the job and be able to communicate with the players in their language.
“I had long prepared my presentation. I arrived in a room in front of the jury. There was a pack of people… Serge Blanco was there, Jo Maso too. And a whole bunch of people I did not know, around president Pierre Camou.
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“I unfolded the presentation of my project as I had planned, everything went well. In the end, Pierre Camou simply came to me and said, ‘Clive, unanimously your presentation is the best of all. And by far. But you will not have the job. We have already recruited Guy Noves’. I took it very badly. It was disrespectful.”
The setback didn’t result in Woodward completely cutting his ties with France as he revealed he is in the process of setting up a ski academy in the Alps and becoming its director of sport.
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“I have a secret love affair with your country. I’m setting up a ski academy in Tignes, Apex 2100 since it will be located at 2100m altitude.
“We see having a big international audience. We have invested €15million in this project and therefore in your country. Who knows, maybe one day France will come to prepare for a great deadline? I will welcome them with pleasure.”
WATCH: RugbyPass looks back on some of our favourite moments with the fans at the 2019 World Cup in Japan
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