On the epic road to the success of 2003, England not only travelled to New Zealand and Australia and beat them in their own back yard but were also hailed as 6 Nations Champions, something that may have happend a little sooner but for some last minute lapses in concentration.
The 2011 World Cup promises to be a fantastic celebration and a wonderful advertisement for one of England’s finest sports. The preparations are according to team manager and 2003 World Cup winning Captain, Martin Johnson, going well. Despite mixed reviews over the Autumn internationals, where England produced two wins out of four, there looks to be a freshness in the England side that could deliver at the next World Cup, do they though, as they did in 2003, have to turn up in New Zealand as Grand Slam Champions?
Ofcourse it is not a necessity. Grand Slam winners do not automatically get the World Cup in the same year, however, collecting the scalp of Europe’s best five teams will boost the confidence so highly, that England could well be the team to beat during next summer.
Wales away, France at home and Ireland away are the ties that many will fear the most, but they are winnable, in fact, to win the Grand Slam in 2011 would probably mean an automatic spot as second favourites for the World Cup. New Zealand, as always will have the favourites tag although everbody knows it hasn’t done them any favours since 1987.
For England, coming second or third in the 6 Nations will not be good enough for them on the way to the World Cup, heading to such a big competition as a team that finished 3rd in the European competition will not help the players prepare and Martin Johnson, of all people will know that his squad of players will want that title to show the rugby world that he and England are back for more glory.