Welsh Rugby
Woodward: Wales can win 2015 World Cup
ESPN Staff
July 29, 2013
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny with the Six Nations Player of the Championship trophy, WRU Training Centre, Cardiff, Wales, March 22, 2013
World-class fullback Leigh Halfpenny will be integral to Welsh success in 2015 © Getty Images

Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward claims Wales have the potential to win the World Cup in 2015.

Wales find themselves in the same pool as hosts England and Australia but with two Six Nations titles in as many years, Warren Gatland's men are the form northern hemisphere side at the moment. Their current dominance of European rugby was further emphasised by them having 10 players in the starting XV for the final British & Irish Lions' Test in Australia.

Woodward coached England to World Cup glory in 2003 and he has tipped Wales to impress in Pool A. "If Wales field their first XV, they are potential World Cup winners," Woodward told Wales Online. "Wales have not got the depth of options available to England, but they do have the quality.

"When they are at their strongest, they are a match for any team in the world. Their players were crucial to the Lions and I thought skipper Sam Warburton was amazing."

Australia are currently finding their feet under new coach Ewen McKenzie and he will hope his team re-find some cohesion after they were outplayed by the Lions in the final Test. For England, they have 23 matches until the first match in the World Cup and Stuart Lancaster said last week he is fully aware of what awaits his side when they head into the global gathering, which is hosted on home soil.

Lancaster is currently focused on seeking to emulate the All Blacks' attacking philosophy but Woodward says England must start getting results rather than talking about long-term development. "Stuart is doing an excellent job and has a good team developing," Woodward added. "And the Lions experiences this summer of coaches Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree will benefit them hugely.

"But the World Cup will be incredibly competitive in the qualifying pool, particularly for England who are drawn with Wales and Australia. It's no longer about development, it's now about results. The England forwards look very impressive but it's time for our backline to step up and start firing on all cylinders."

George North shone for the Lions against Australia © Getty Images
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