ALL BLACKS chief John Mitchell yesterday saluted the obstinacy of England head coach Clive Woodward.
Mitchell saw his pretournament favourites claim third place in the World Cup after dominating a second-string French side in the playoff match nobody wanted to play.
And then the man who was Woodward's assistant just over two years ago gave an insight into the passion with which England will compete with Australia for the Webb Ellis trophy tomorrow.
"It means everything to Clive," said Mitchell.
"His programme has been going for six years and he has been really obstinate in his methods to improve English rugby.
"He identified very early that there would need to be skill development and he has surrounded himself with some pretty mature people.
"They both have a chance on Saturday. They have two different styles and it is too hard to call.
"It will come down to the team with the most will on the day. It will come down to the error rate and there won't be a lot in it. We'd love to see Australia win for the southern hemisphere but I have got some friendships to consider as well and I'm looking forward to watching it."
Mitchell insisted the All Blacks would persevere with their attacking, running style which has brought 81 tries in 2003, six of them yesterday when wing Doug Howlett and fullback Mils Muliaina scored their seventh touchdowns of the tournament to become the World Cup's joint-leading try scorers.
They were joined on the scoresheet by second-row Chris Jack, young wing Joe Rokocoko, Brad Thorn and Marty Holah with Pepito Elhorga grabbing France's consolation touchdown.