England have earned the right to be considered among the favourites for the Rugby World Cup, according to Lawrence Dallaglio.
Eddie Jones’ side, along with top-ranked Ireland, Six Nations Grand Slam champions Wales and Rugby Championship winners South Africa, have been tipped as the most likely sides to challenge holders New Zealand in Japan.
England crashed out of their home World Cup at the first hurdle in 2015 but will aim to make amends this time around.
They start their campaign against Tonga on Sunday, before facing the United States, Argentina and France, with Jones’ men having lost just twice – both times against Wales – in 2019.
Dallaglio lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2003 and sees no reason why England cannot go on to claim rugby’s top prize once more.
“They’ve set the bar high,” the former England captain told Omnisport, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.
“There’s always expectation with England in any sport, particularly rugby. We’ve got a history in rugby of doing well and I think they’ve earned that right quite frankly.
“I think the progression under Jones has been there right the way from 2015 when he declared he didn’t feel we had enough world-class players.
Countdown to #ENGvTGA
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“But I think on that journey over the last four years, you look at the team now and it’s packed full of top-class international rugby players who have won Grand Slams, they’ve won the title a few times and domestic and European honours. So I think we can rightly go into this World Cup in Japan cautiously optimistic.
“They know they are capable of beating any of the sides in the world as they showed in Dublin in the Six Nations, as they showed in the first half against New Zealand and as they’ve shown in games more recently against Ireland.
“We’re contenders, we’re challengers and New Zealand are the team to beat. But we’ve got a chance.”
Pressed on what else England need to do to prove their credentials, Dallaglio conceded a World Cup triumph may be required.
“How do you measure success in a side? It’s what you win, tangibly,” he added.
“This England team have a won a couple of Slams, they’ve equalled the world record for international victories under Jones, so I think the one thing they need to do is win a World Cup.
“To do that away from home would be some achievement. I’m really excited about their prospects, I’m looking forward to it. It’s wide open.”
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