Italy were no show against All Blacks - Woodward

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Captain Sergio Parisse (pictured) claimed that had New Zealand been needing points some way would have been found to play the game.

 

But former World Cup-winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward said while understanding Italy's frustration he was much clearer on the likely outcome of any game.

 

"Theoretically, they still had a chance of reaching the quarterfinals, but the fact is they had zero chance of beating New Zealand," he said in his Daily Mail column.

 

Rather than being critical of the abandonment of games, Woodward took the view that the rugby world needed to come together as it had following the Christchurch earthquake of 2011.

 

"We saw the very best of the rugby community back then. There was no thought of switching the World Cup from New Zealand.

 

"The organisers were allowed to tear up their plans and the affected teams and fans changed their own plans accordingly. What we did have on our side back then was time.

 

"The spirit of solidarity needs to resurface big-time here.

 

"The rugby world needs to get behind Japan – no witch-hunt or pointing fingers. Japan won the vote in 2009 and no issues were raised then," he said.

 

Woodward said a lot of retrospective experts had been venting on the subject but they had been mute in the past.

 

He said it was worth remembering Sri Lanka had missed two of their Cricket World Cup pool matches to weather during the English summer.

 

"I don't remember much sympathy for them at the time. There was no real criticism of the ECB, or the organisers of the World Cup either," he said.

 

What rugby needed to do now was be sensible, fair and practical, he said.

 

"There is only one thing that really matters now and that is to somehow, by hook or by crook, get the Japan-Scotland match completed on Sunday.

 

"The cancellation of that fixture is the only one that would seriously dent the credibility of this World Cup, so I would urge the organisers to go the extra mile to get this game played, even if that means putting the team on military plane and taking them to a typhoon-free location to play at whatever time of day suits.

 

"I understand that the transportation and safety of fans is one of the major issues but the priority is to do whatever it takes to ensure Japan face the Scots," he said.

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