Former England centre Will Greenwood has said an England win over the world champions New Zealand this year would be a big stepping stone towards winning the World Cup.
The 2003 World Cup winner, also a three-time Lions tourist, was a part of the Red Rose team who beat New Zealand twice in the run-up to the 2003 World Cup.
A 31-28 win at Twickenham in 2002 and a 15-13 win in Dunedin the following summer, giving Martin Johnson’s men huge confidence and belief going into the World Cup.
And speaking on Sky Sports’ ‘The Offload’, Greenwood feels that in order to have that total and genuine belief that they can win rugby’s biggest prize, they need to have beaten everyone beforehand.
“For your core self belief… you want to know you have beaten everyone.
They’ll want to knock them off because the All Blacks are the greatest rugby team on the planet.”
Beating the @AllBlacks in November would be a major stepping stone towards #RWC2019 victory for @EnglandRugby, says @WillGreenwood on this week’s #TheOffload podcast. Don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe! https://t.co/2igyNNpxgp pic.twitter.com/279Nx6LpvZ
— Sky Sports Rugby (@SkySportsRugby) January 4, 2018
While acknowledging that some of England’s stars had tasted victory over the world’s number one team in the summer with the Lions, the former Leicester and Harlequins back highlighted that this was achieved through the contribution of other home nation stars such as Jonathan Davies, Connor Murray, Taulupe Faletau and Tadhg Furlong, as well.
Saying that England will want to ‘knock them off’, the respected pundit was also fulsome in his praise of Steve Hansen’s men, describing them as the ‘greatest rugby team on the planet’ and that ‘not many other sporting teams are better than them in terms of dominance’.
Using the example of England’s footballers wanting to beat Brazil and the top darts players wanting to beat Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, he says that it is the same thing for England’s stars in terms of wanting to topple New Zealand.
While there is lots of top-class international rugby to come before then, fans will be keeping one eye on November’s mammoth clash.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena