Woodward agreed that some sections of the initial 77-strong party had been hacked back more brutally than others. Only two props were invited to the Bisham Abbey get-together - the England incumbents, Graham Rowntree and Jason Leonard - while wings specialists were equally thin on the ground, just John Bentley and Adedayo Adebayo being there. The coach clearly believes that if some of his cupboard shelves are stacked with goods, others are bare.
"I suppose you could say that those two areas are of the most immediate interest in terms of strength in depth," he said, confirming his intention to tinker with the squad weekly, on the basis of current form. "On this occasion, I simply imagined that England were playing the All Blacks this weekend and chose those I could realistically see taking the field against them. It will change as time goes on.
"We have three more midweek sessions together before the Wallaby match, which isn't many. I've made it clear to every player here that now is not the time for celebration. Form is everything. Next week, we could have more than 23 players here; we could have less."
One of the few certainties to emerge in these early days of Woodward's stewardship is that Rob Smith, the Wasps coach, will join Richard Hill, of Gloucester, in handling England's A side, while London's Phil Keith- Roach, who has extensive experience at divisional level, will contribute as a scrummaging advisor. Woodward has also pulled in Jim Blair, the highly regarded fitness guru from New Zealand, "for as long as we can afford him."
But the new regime has yet to solve one very old coaching conundrum: namely, how to persuade the Rugby Football Union that Dave Alred should play an integral role in big-match preparation. Alred, without question the most successful kicking coach in world rugby, remains a frustrated outsider, despite his unquestioned achievements with Neil Jenkins and England's own Tim Stimpson on the Lions tour. "We need a specialist but it's not yet sorted," Woodward admitted.Reuse content