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Moody cannot see an England win

Former England captain Lewis Moody says he does not think England will win the World Cup this year.

Moody, who won 71 caps over a 10-year career, believes Stuart Lancaster's team are "not quite where they need to be" to lift the William Webb Ellis cup on October 31.

The former Leicester and Bath flanker , s peaking at an awards ceremony for the Prince's Trust in London, told the Press Association: "I don't think England are in the right place at the moment to win the World Cup.

"If they can get through the pool stages they'll have a great, fighting chance. Being at home for every match makes a massive difference and if you get into a semi-final anything could happen - but I think at the minute they are probably not quite where they need to be to win the World Cup.

"They can certainly be there to push the others, and if they get into the semi-final then there is every chance they could make the final."

Moody, who cannot see beyond New Zealand as tournament winners, believes Lancaster may be hoping his squad will peak for 2019.

He continued: "He's been building a team, there are a lot of young new changes coming, so I think he'll be focusing on the next World Cup, especially as he's had that nice new contract extension."

However, he believes England can still win the Six Nations.

Moody said: "It is disappointing that England have ended up in this position. They had a good chance to come away with a Grand Slam but they have got to focus on Scotland now.

"It should be a reasonably comfortable result against Scotland, and then go on and beat France. They can still win it, but it will be a big ask now - we are reliant on other teams."

Moody added: "I am a huge fan of Stuart Lancaster.

"I think he's done terribly well and I think all that now Stuart is lacking is that win, that result that really says, 'Look, what I've been doing over the last four years has been about this, achieving this', and if we can take something out of the Six Nations, which will be tough now, then he'll have that."

One bonus is that the Six Nations may well have ironed out England's conundrum at fly-half and in the centres, Moody suggested, with George Ford and Jonathan Joseph cementing their places.

He said: " For me it is quite simple. I think Ford has stepped up and done a fantastic job. I'd keep him there, and he would be my man for the World Cup. It will be interesting to see where Owen (Farrell) slots in when he comes back.

"Joseph has stepped in and filled a void I think we've been nursing since Will Greenwood was playing, and that's some time ago now.

"And when Manu Tuilagi comes back I'd like to see Joseph and Tuilagi playing in the centres together and how they can work that. I think (Luther) Burrell has been all right but I think Joseph and Tuilagi are probably the future."

Moody was adamant Ford's rise had not consigned Farrell's days as England's starting number 10 to history.

"They are certainly not over," he said. "The fact George has come in and done so well, George Ford has had a fantastic start to his international career.

"Owen is a young man in his own right. Those two vied for the under 20s spots, they were centre and fly-half together when they played England under 20s together, so they know each other well.

"Owen is a great temperament and he'll work hard to make sure he is pushing George all the way for that 10 shirt."


From Belfast Telegraph