The RBS 6 Nations may only be two weeks old, but it already looks like the title is done and dusted. David Kuzio, experienced rugby journalist, gives his reasons why he believes England will remain unbeaten in 2013. It is easy to back a winning horse after it has left the traps, but he has noticed something about the England squad over the past fortnight that he believes makes them untouchable.
Two games down in the 2013 competition and it already looks to me that the race to avoid the wooden spoon will be a lot closer than the title race itself. In my eyes, and many other people involved in the sport, Stuart Lancaster’s Red Roses are clear favourites to not only win the Six Nations title but also the Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
England have not won all three major honours on offer in the Six Nations tournament since 2003 and Lancaster will be determined to be the first coach to do so since the great Sir Clive Woodward, who also won the World Cup the same year. Lancaster has instilled a winning mentality within his squad, something that was lost under the leadership of Martin Johnson.
The former Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby had the unenviable task of lifting a whole nation when he was named interim coach following a disastrous World Cup campaign with Johnson in charge. Under Johnson the players were making headlines off the field rather than on it, but in Lancaster’s first tournament in charge, he led England to second place in the 2012 Six Nations and has since masterminded a stunning win over World Champions New Zealand.
Lancaster looks to have had a calming influence over his squad. He allows them to play their own game as long as they understand the ultimate goal of winning and losing as a team. He has already brought on the careers of Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell, Mike Brown and Chris Robshaw and who knows how many more gems he will unearth on the road to the 2015 World Cup. The World Cup is the number one target and the way Lancaster is going, he will have led his country to three successive Six Nations, Grand Slam and Triple Crown titles before the main tournament comes around in three years.
The players may do the hard work on the training paddock and out in the middle, but the brains behind the organisation is a 43-year-old from Cumbria whose working class beliefs have rubbed off on his squad who are now willing to go out on the pitch and die for each other – That is not something you would have been able to say in the previous 10 years.
You may read this and say, “come off it, they have only beaten Scotland and Ireland and there is a long way to go yet” and you would be right in saying so. Yes, it is a long way to go, but this England team will only get better and that spells trouble not only for France, Italy and Wales but for the rest of the rugby world. By the time they run out at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, March 16, they will have already secured the Six Nations title and they will be just 80 minutes away from adding the Grand Slam and Triple Crown titles to their bow, sending out a stark warning to the rest of the world.
Written by David Kuzio from Bettingpro.com.