Ben Foden, England’s young fullback, revealed today his belief in a potential England triumph in this year’s upcoming Six Nations Championship. England last won the Championship in 2003 as they prepared to go to Down Under for the World Cup, which they would eventually win. Since then, they have fluttered up and down the table, struggling to maintaining consistent form and dropping to as a low as fourth twice, finishing a paltry third year.
However, with a young and energetic squad, Martin Johnson’s side seems as ready as ever to begin playing at their full potential. Johnson has phased out some of the older heads and has slowly introduced fresh talent, like Foden and scrum half Ben Youngs, to the international scene. However, it is now time that we begin to see the results of this slow introduction; England fans have been patiently allowing this young team to bond, but with the World Cup in New Zealand looming, now is the time to see a finish product.
After a successful autumn series, in which Foden starred at 15, he said today ‘”We are a confident squad, we feel like we are going in the right direction. We performed well in the autumn and we feel the next step for us is to challenge for the Six Nations.”
“We want to right those wrongs from the last seven years, when we haven’t been that impressive in the competition in terms of winning it. We feel like we have got our best foot forward.
“There are some tough games ahead. All the teams in the competition are of a high calibre. It is a tough job but I think it is a realistic target.”
New RFU CEO John Steele has certainly set the target high, demanding from Martin Johnson a top-two finish. This would certainly seem an achievable goal after England’s victories over Australia and Samoa, and spirited performances against New Zealand and South Africa in the Autumn.
With just over 6 months to go until RWC 2011 kicks off down under, it is crucial for England to at least play with some confidence and to build a sense of a team, even if the results aren’t perfect. Can England replicate 2003 form and win the 6 Nations? Is this side comparable to that of 2003?