“I think they’ve got a huge opportunity to win the World Cup,” said the former England international. “I don’t think they’ve ever had a better squad that they’ve got now at their disposal. I don’t think they’ve ever chucked as much resource and finance at the England squad before, in terms of the training camps they’ve had and the trips to South Africa for altitude training. It’s a massive cost, there’s a real pressure on England to succeed in this cup.”
A 16-8 defeat to Australia in the 1995 final is the closest England have come to lifting the trophy with two semi final exits in 2000 and 2008 the best they have mustered since, although Great Britain did win the competition in 1954 and 1972.
He said: “I think they should breeze the semi finals. Anything other than a near miss in the semi finals won’t be good enough, at the end of the day there are only three teams in the mix. They’ve really got to be nailing a final spot, the players are good enough, they’ve got players in the Burgess brothers who are playing in the NRL competition. We’ve got the best squad that I’ve known since I’ve been watching that’s for sure.”