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Rugby Union: Clive right on top of the world.

ENGLAND rugby coach Clive Woodward has enjoyed the rare luxury of picking an unchanged side for the World Cup qualifier against Italy at Huddersfield on Sunday.

And he even persuaded the World Cup organisers to release four players from his 26-man squad. Phil de Glanville (Bath), Tony Diprose (Saracens), Will Green (Wasps) and Tom Beim (Sale) will play for their clubs this weekend.

De Glanville's place among the seven subs is taken by Saracens lock Danny Grewcock. England have enough versatility among the backs in Mike Perry, Austin Healey and subs Mike Catt and Nick Beal to need no extra back up.

Both England and Italy ruthlessly demolished Holland in this qualifying event - 110-0 to England and 67-7 to Italy - to qualify for World Cup 99. But Woodward believes there is still much to be gained from the Italy match.

Physical

He said: "When I chose the side for Holland, it was with the intention of picking it to play again against Italy.

"I watched Italy win against Argentina, then beat Holland. Against Argentina it was not a great game of rugby, but it was physically demanding and I expect a similar pattern."

Italy will enter a Six Nations' Championship after the millennium and Woodward said: "This is their first crack at England since they have been granted this honour and they will want to ensure that they make a mark."

England are officially denying any concerns about Italian illegalities, but survivors of World Cup 1991 like Jason Leonard and Jerry Guscott remember them conceding 37 penalties.

Even against the Dutch, they gave away 19.

Woodward said: "It is up to the French referee. I don't see a problem. We can only play with what happens on the field."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:James, David
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 20, 1998
Words:289
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