Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Dallaglio: England not ready to win

Lawrence Dallaglio
Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio believes the current England squad have the ability to win the World Cup - but not for another four years.

The former England captain was a key part in the victorious 2003 World Cup-winning side in Australia, where they defeated the home team in the Sydney finale. England return to the Antipodes for another tilt at World Cup glory next month with victorious captain Martin Johnson looking for similar success as coach eight years on.

Former team-mate Dallaglio has lauded England's turnaround under Johnson, but believes the immensely-capable squad has a better chance of winning the 2015 edition on home soil, saying: "I think that this England team's time will come four years later."

He added: "Without a doubt this team is capable of winning in 2015. That is no consolation if they don't go and win this one because of course you don't know what is going to happen in the future. But this England team are getting better and better all the time."

When pressed on England's immediate chances in New Zealand, Dallaglio said: "Hand on heart, England are not favourites. They are not the number one side in the world; they are not the number two.

"What can we realistically expect from England in this World Cup? Well, if they got to the semi-finals and played well then I think the majority of people would be happy.

"I don't think Martin Johnson would be happy. I don't think the coaches would be, I don't think the players would be happy but the majority of people would say that is not a bad reflection of where you are at the moment. Will this team be better after the World Cup? The answer is yes, undoubtedly.

"For many of them it will be there first experience of a World Cup and I know from my own experience in '99, we didn't win that World Cup because we were not ready to win it at that moment in time.

"It would have been nice to win it, but we weren't ready to win it and we learned huge lessons from it. By the time we got to 2003, we were absolutely ready to win that World Cup.

"I hope this England team enjoy the World Cup, have a great experience. For some of them it will be their last but for the majority of them it will be their first."

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