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DHL NEW ZEALAND LIONS SERIES 2017


QUICK TAP: THE TEN BEST PICTURES FROM THE DHL NZ LIONS SERIES 2017

"The All Blacks are clearly not quite as good as we thought they were, but their raw potential and talent is still amazing," he said.

Woodward said the All Blacks were still struggling with replacing Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith.

He also felt there was a vulnerability associated with the side's discipline given red and yellow cards issued in the second and third Tests.

The win in Wellington in the second Test was a 'road to Damascus' moment and showed the British and Irish sides they could match the All Blacks.

"We are possibly in for a golden era," he said.



Woodward said his time in New Zealand during the tour allowed him to banish his demons from the 2005 tour and he had spent time with Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu for the first time in 12 years since the Brian O'Driscoll incident in the first Test in Christchurch.

"Did either of them do it deliberately? Absolutely not. Was it a red card offence? Absolutely yes," he said.

Woodward added, especially in the wake of Sonny Bill Williams' red card that it felt good to move on from 2005.

He had also been told by 2017 coach Warren Gatland that he now understood why Woodward brought such a large squad in 2005.

"A tour of New Zealand is now impossible without a minimum of 46 fit, available players. You don't run two teams but the reality is you must run two match-day squads and that in Test week the responsibility for the midweek team has to be handed over to a senior coach.

"There is just too much else to do and without doubt there should have been another game in the last week of the tour," he said.