Dazzling England rattle rugby rivals with win over All Blacks
England's heroic victory over New Zealand makes today's 2015 World Cup draw a little edgier
NONE of the world’s top-seeded nations will want to be drawn in the same group as England for the 2015 Rugby World Cup following Saturday’s ‘David versus Goliath’ win over New Zealand, says former England coach Sir Clive Woodward.
Sir Clive told the BBC that England’s 38-21 win over the All Blacks at Twickenham meant the southern hemisphere powerhouses - Australia, New Zealand and South Africa - will be hoping to avoid a first-round match against England when the draw is announced at this afternoon’s ceremony at the Tate Modern gallery.
"It was a great, great victory for England," said the 56-year-old who guided England to their 2003 World Cup win. "They got stuck into New Zealand and they were rattled."
The former England scrum-half Matt Dawson goes one further, describing the surprise win as "maybe the greatest ever England victory at Twickenham".
The Daily Telegraph rugby correspondent Mick Cleary says the three tries England scored in eight devastating minutes of the second half meant England had "out-Blacked the Blacks". But he warns that one heroic victory does not mean the rugby world order has been changed at a stroke.
"Just as one dreadful set-back does not make the All Blacks a poor side, so one victory plucked from the outer reaches of a fantasy does not make England a great one."
At WalesOnline, Delme Parfitt agrees, saying the five-try win has put "a smile as wide as the Severn Bridge" on the face of English rugby and offered a "platform for progress". But it doesn’t mean northern hemisphere teams have finally broken the dominance of their southern rivals.
England coach Stuart Lancaster and his side were entitled to "all the back-slapping in the world", but "history tells us the result should be viewed in isolation, and not something which is about to herald any seismic shift in the balance of power," says Parfitt.
Writing in The Times, England scrum-half Ben Youngs says "everything came together" for his team at Twickenham on Saturday. He still believes the All Blacks are the best side in the world "on their day", but the victory has proved England can "match them and beat them".
"For us it is a huge step forward and gives us a huge amount of self-belief," says Youngs. "What we must make sure is that it is not a one-off but the start of something."
The draw for 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be played in London, will be held at 3pm. ·