Young guns can shine - Moody
Lewis Moody has backed England's young guns to conquer the Everest of world rugby and beat New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday to lift the Hillary Shield.
The All Blacks are top of the International Rugby Board's world rankings, having won the 2010 Tri-Nations without losing a game, while England still languish in the foothills of sixth place. But less than a year out from the World Cup, Moody is convinced England are a team on the rise following a successful injection of youth.
"New Zealand are a quality side at the minute. They are ranked number one in the world. The challenge ahead of us is a very steep one and a difficult one," said Moody.
"When you play the best team in the world, you are always underdogs but I have a lot of confidence in this team and the guys within it."
"There is no better place to be playing the All Blacks than at Twickenham. We know it will be an incredibly tough encounter and the challenge will be very difficult but that is why you play the game."
Moody and Mark Cueto are the only survivors from the side beaten 19-6 by the All Blacks last November, while a third of England's starting XV have never started a Test at Twickenham.
Courtney Lawes, Ben Youngs, Ben Foden, Chris Ashton and Dan Cole all made their mark for England on the summer tour of Australia, where England drew the Test series 1-1.
Moody added: "It is a really good group of lads we have got at the minute with Youngs, Lawes, Cole, Ashton, Foden. They are playing some great rugby. The hunger and enthusiasm they have brought has been brilliant.
"The environment in the England camp has changed for the better in every way in the last 12 months. This team is going in the right direction and that has been boosted by some good performances in the last few games.
"I think the potential of this team is huge, I really do. There is no reason this team can't go on and be together for a long period of time and perform at levels we know it can.