In his latest column for the Daily Mail, Woodward said rugby nations emboldened by New Zealand’s record loss to Australia in Perth last week will have to think again after the 36-0 demolition of the Wallabies at Eden Park.
Woodward said the All Blacks’ win on Saturday was a “wake-up call” for England, describing the All Blacks as “simply fantastic”. He also praised Sonny Bill Williams and said in first-five Richie Mo’unga the Kiwis now have a world-class goalkicker to complement the all-round abilities of the team.
“It was business as usual for New Zealand and a wake-up call for the rest of the leading contenders for Japan,” Woodward wrote in his weekly column.
“After losing to the Wallabies in Perth the rugby world was hoping there was a possible chink in this All Black team but yesterday Steve Hansen’s side handed the Australians a lesson at Eden Park winning 36-0. It was a real sit-up and say ‘wow’ moment.
“Make no mistake they are still the team to beat.
“They were simply fantastic in very bad conditions. Sonny Bill Williams was back and Richie Mo’unga is a proper goal kicker and that counts for a lot in World Cups.”
Elsewhere, Daily Mail columnist Nik Simon echoed Woodward’s praise for the men in black in a piece called Lessons from an All Blacks backlash!
Simon wrote that “normal order has been restored in world rugby” and that despite the All Blacks’ aura fading recently, “the World Cup is still theirs to lose”.
He also had praise for lesser-known players who impressed during the emphatic victory.
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