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Shaw dismissal ruined test, raps Woodward
June 19, 2004

England coach Sir Clive Woodward claimed lock Simon Shaw should not have been sent off as the World Cup winners lost 36-12 to New Zealand in Eden Park.

Wasps forward Shaw became only the third England player to be dismissed in international rugby history, after Mike Burton 29 years ago and Danny Grewcock - also against New Zealand - in 1998.

Welsh referee Nigel Williams red-carded Shaw for use of the knee on opposite number Keith Robinson after just 11 minutes.

Woodward told Sky Sports: "It sticks in the throat. I have watched it a couple of times and I agree with Lawrence Dallaglio - it was clumsy and no more. We were about to go 9-0 up. They were killing the ball and Shaw was trying to make [Robinson] aware. Shaw is devastated. He is shattered by it. He clearly doesn't agree with the decision and I think the touch judge acted a bit quick with 50,000 people shouting `off'.

"This time last year Josh Lewsey was stamped on against New Zealand and the guy wasn't sent off. This was a big, big call - it ruined the game."

Woodward paid tribute to England's battling qualities after the sending off. "It was an awesome effort. I was disappointed at that decision but we battled very well. I was annoyed about some of their play. We have gone into our shells a bit since winning the World Cup. We were almost becoming a bit scared of losing.

"You get a bit tight. But I was delighted before the game, I thought the team were up for the game and started well.

"It was looking good, I had a feeling all week we could have ambushed them. Dallaglio was outstanding - he led by example - but the record will show we lost to New Zealand."

Dallaglio refused to criticise Shaw, claiming: "I'm not faulting our guy - you make your own mind up. Simon is disappointed about the sending off - he knows how incredibly hard it is when you are down to 14. They were killing the ball."

He also paid tribute to England's gutsy showing. "Tests are about winning and once our guy was sent off it made it very difficult but we tackled ferociously and found the spaces. We have to think hard about where we go. We need a long rest and the players need to work hard in the off season and start all over again in the autumn."

New Zealand coach Graham Henry refused to comment on Shaw's dismissal and preferred to discuss the performance of his own team, who he believes can improve still further.

"I've heard it was a sending off offence but I haven't looked at it. I was looking at the game. I can't comment, I haven't seen it. Were delighted. We've beaten the world champions in two games and scored eight tries to none. It was a fairly convincing win.

"But England played a lot better tonight with a lot more spirit. They were difficult to handle."

Asked about the performance of hat-trick star Joe Rokocoko, he said: "He played outstandingly today, he's got the gas and can beat people. He's a great player. But we need to be more consistent and have more self belief in our ability to play the game."

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