Rugby World Cup
All Blacks are England's only worry: Mike Tindall
PA Sport
July 9, 2015

Mike Tindall believes only New Zealand will stand in England's way of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup on home soil.

Stuart Lancaster's squad head to Denver on Saturday for a two-week high-altitude training camp before they host France at Twickenham in the first of three warm-up games ahead of the World Cup.

England have been drawn in the same pool as both Australia and Wales for the tournament - which gets under way on September 18 - with only two of the three progressing to the quarterfinals.

England will avoid world champions New Zealand until the final at Twickenham on October 31, providing they top their pool.

And Tindall, part of the World Cup-winning in 2003, expects England - buoyed by a strong Six Nations campaign earlier this year - to deliver in front of their home support.

"If I put my hand on my heart I don't see England losing," Tindall told PA Sport.

"With the home advantage, and the leaps and bounds they made at the Six Nations, they are in a really good spot right now. Their strength in depth - especially through the pack - is incredible and now they have a backline that is backing them up.

"England have got a very high level of performance and consistency, so I can see them getting to the final.

"You would put money on New Zealand being there to face them and then it is just a one-off game, but England have that game to beat them."

Tindall, England's vice-captain during the disastrous 2011 World Cup campaign where Martin Johnson's side were knocked out at the quarter-final stage, believes coach Lancaster must find the perfect balance during their training camp.

He spoke in glowing terms of England's camps in 2003 - where they won the tournament in Australia - and in 2007, losers only to South Africa in the final. But he was not so complimentary of the build-up to the 1999 and 2011 campaigns where England failed to progress beyond the last eight.

"1999 was one of the hardest camps I have ever done, and I think too hard. 2011 was very hard, too," Tindall added.

"In 2003 we felt it was a spot-on preparation and in 2007 it was another good camp, in terms of the physical stuff we did, so it is a balancing act.

"In Denver you will get that altitude training and with that the extra kick into the warm-up games and then hopefully get your match fitness through those games.

"No stone will be unturned. They are going to work hard, but as long as they are not overworked they will be in a really good spot."

Tindall was speaking at the launch of Rugby Aid - a charity match that will be played on September 4 at The Stoop. He will captain an England side, consisting of former internationals and celebrities, against a Rest of the World team skippered by legendary Wales winger Shane Williams.

"There is a lot of pressure on England to be successful at the World Cup," said Williams "They are playing in their own back yard. They have got a good squad so England expect them to do well and probably more so than the Welsh side. The pressure is on England more than it is Wales."

© PA Sport

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