Friday, December 25, 2009

England can win Six Nations says Lawrence Dallaglio

Lawrence Dallaglio believes England can win the 2010 Six Nations despite two defeats in their three autumn Tests.

The former England captain told BBC Sport that Martin Johnson's men can challenge France, who he believes will start favourites in a post-Lions year.

"This may surprise a few people, but in my view England will probably go on and win the Six Nations," said Dallaglio.

"They'll certainly be competitive. France may be difficult and the team to beat, but I think England can go well."

England open their Six Nations campaign at home to Wales on 6 February and also host defending champions Ireland, with trips to Italy, Scotland and - on the final day - France.

"I think England are good enough to win the Six Nations, but that is not good enough to become the best team in the world," Dallaglio added.

Johnson received the backing of Rugby Football Union chairman Martyn Thomas in the wake of Saturday's 19-6 defeat by New Zealand, but Dallaglio's bold prediction for the Six Nations must rank beyond most England supporters' expectations.

Criticism of the manner in which England are playing their rugby have centred on the coaching staff at Johnson's disposal.

A perceived difference in philosophy between attack coach Brian Smith and forwards coach John Wells was vigorously denied by Smith and scrummaging coach Graham Rowntree, with Smith adamant the coaches are "a united ship".

Johnson reiterated his satisfaction with his coaches after Saturday's match, insisting they had "done a brilliant job" and remained his preferred personnel for the Six Nations.

But Dallaglio suggested his World Cup-winning team-mate may need to think again.

"England rattled the feathers of New Zealand for quite a long time but what we need to add is that creativity, that skill, that guile," Dallaglio added. "One try in three games is not going to be good enough to become the best team in the world.

"When you start with a team, there are going to be passengers and casualties along the way. Sometimes they are players and sometimes they are coaches.

"We need to inject more creativity and that may mean looking at his coaching staff. They need to be more adventurous with their style of play."

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