English Rugby
Dallaglio bullish ahead of World Cup
ESPNscrum Staff
August 28, 2011

Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio believes England are clicking into gear at just the right time ahead of the latest battle for the Webb Ellis Cup.

England wrapped up their prepararions for the tournament with a 20-9 victory over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday - their first victory on Irish soil since 2003 when a side including Dallaglio wrapped up a Six Nations Grand Slam on their way to World Cup glory later the same year.

Victory at the Aviva Stadium brought an end to a mixed build-up that also included a shared two-Test series with Wales but the Class of '03 suffered a similar fate and Dallaglio is confident that Martin Johnson's squad are in great shape for their latest assault on the sport's biggest prize.

"They'll be the side which no one wants to play against that's for sure. I think there are areas England can improve on but they go into the World Cup in as good a place as they wanted to be," Dallaglio told ESPNscrum. "Saturday's win was a positive step forward and they have improved massively since as recently as 12 months ago.

"There were lots of positives - Mike Tindall back as captain produced a great performance. It's great to have both Dan Cole and Matt Stevens vying for the number three jersey and Steve Thompson impressed. Manu Tuilagi produced another good display and you can see how much it meant to Martin Johnson with the fist pump."

However, Dallaglio believes England still have much to prove if they are to repeat the heroics of Sir Clive Woodward's World Cup winning squad and has dimissed any similarities drawn between the two side. "I wouldn't compare the two sides at all," Dallaglio said. "The 2003 team was a very unique team and the number one side in the world. They had won the Grand Slam and had been the best side in the world for a few years.

"They had beaten Australia and New Zealand on home soil. This England team is a good side but on a different stage of their journey. For many this is their first World Cup and for many of our side it was their last. We went into that competition as favourites and England aren't. But they certainly go into the tournament with some momentum having won away in Dublin."

Lawrence Dallaglio is the Global Rugby Ambassador for Emirates Airline - a Worldwide Partner of the Rugby World Cup 2011 - and was speaking at London Heathrow Airport where Emirates are carrying the Webb Ellis Trophy from London to Auckland on its A380 aircraft. For more information on Emirates visit www.emirates.com/uk™

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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