Marler and Farrell back England for World Cup


Prop Joe Marler admits high-flying England would back themselves to win the Rugby World Cup if it started tomorrow.

Stuart Lancaster’s side are in a superb run of form, having beaten New Zealand impressively in December and made an excellent start to the RBS Six Nations with two wins from two.

Victories over Scotland at Twickenham and Ireland in Dublin have some already looking towards the World Cup on English soil in 2015.

Talk of England lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in over two years’ time is clearly premature but Marler and team-mate Owen Farrell admit the tournament is on their mind in the long term.

“If it was to start tomorrow, we’d back ourselves to win it,” Marler said.

“It’s a little bit of an English thing in most sports, getting ahead of ourselves somewhat. But we’re on a journey.

“We’re on a journey as a team and each time we pull on that shirt it’s another step towards that ultimate goal of a home World Cup in front of your own fans.

“That’s our main goal. But we’ll be focusing on the process in between then and now because it’s still two and a half years away, so we’ve got lots to do before then.”

Outhalf Farrell is similarly cautious but also well aware of the side’s long-term ambitions.

Long way away

“The World Cup is a long way away,” he said. “There’s obviously loads of rugby to be played before then but that’s when everyone wants to peak and that’s what we want to build towards.

“As long as we keep going in the right direction, we’ll be in good stead.”

Headlines have been dominated this week by British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland’s controversial comments about selecting English players for this summer’s tour of Australia.

But Gatland maintains he will pick the side on merit and confirmed that to Lancaster during a pre-arranged visit to England’s training camp this week.

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