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VIDEO – Moody: England still to hit '03 level

04 July 2011

  • Lewis Moody discusses England’s Rugby World Cup preparations on RFUtv
  • Better position than 2007 but still short of 2003 level says England flanker

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The current England squad are in a better position than they were ahead of the 2007 world cup, but are still some way short of the standards set by the 2003 tournament winning side, according to veteran flanker Lewis Moody.

Using the RBS 6 Nations as a form guide, England’s title-winning tilt this year has more in common with the Grand Slam campaign of 2003, than the 2007 tournament where England finished third behind champions France and triple crown winners Ireland.

Moody feels England are currently in a good place but in terms of continuity and knowledge of each other, the Bath Rugby star says the squad is learning with each match they play.            

Speaking to RFUtv, 66-cap Moody said: "We’re in really good shape, it’s difficult to compare the two [previous training camps] but if we had to you’d find we sit somewhere smack-bang in-between.

"We feel we’re certainly more prepared than we were going into the last world cup but we’re nowhere near the standard of the team in ’03. That team had been together for years and had started to hit the pinnacle of their form.

"We’re a team that’s learning from every game we play and I think you see that in the results we’ve had over the autumn, 6 Nations and the summer tours. Over the last year it’s been a really good learning curve for us – we’ve had some really good results and we’ve had some really frustrating results but every result we’ve learnt from."

Looking ahead to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Moody dismissed the suggestion that England have an easy pool, citing previous experiences and the threat of challengers Argentina and Scotland in Pool B.

The 33-year-old added: "We played USA last time in our first game and I think it was 23-10 or something and it was a game where people expected us to walk over them.

"There are no easy games at a world cup as Argentina have proved – at the last world cup they finished third.

"Scotland are always a formidable team and, especially under Andy Robinson, they’re playing some really good rugby, having beaten the Springboks and some other nations as they’ve gone on in the last year. We see that as a huge challenge."