England can win the World Cup : Banahan

England and Bath centre Matt Banahan has warned the rest of the rugby world by stating that Englan can defy their underdog status and win the rugby world cup.

New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are the favourites for the title to be held in New Zealand for the first time since 1987.

Having won their first Six Nations since 2003 England will go into the tournament full of confidence as the last time they won the Six Nations they went on to win the world cup.

Banahan says that England are just starting to hit form and that their success in the against Australia last year and a promising display against New Zealand shows that they are closing the gap.

New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will finish the TriNations just a couple of weeks ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September and the Bath centre says this will provide a useful litmus test.

Banahan said: “Definitely we can win, they are going to have to play the Tri-Nations just before the start of the tournament and that can give us an advantage.

“Obviously it’s going to be hard work to win the World Cup, but if we all put in the hard graft to combine as a team and play to our best, we have a great chance.

“The Autumn internationals have helped us massively. They provided us with big tests but we showed we could compete, and as players we took a lot of confidence coming out of those games.”

Banahan is also pleased with with the current rate of his development, and that of the team.

“Where I’ve come from to where I am now is a massive leap forward,” he told the Daily Mail.

“I have played at international level on the wing and now in the centre, and I think I have done quite well, but I’m still learning and that’s my main goal. I’m always trying to learn about myself and the team, and trying to make myself the best player I can be.

“As a team, we have set ourselves goals that everyone has brought into, which started at the end of last year’s Six Nations, where we finished quite well.

“We went into this year’s tournament aiming to at least do better than last year’s third place and we did that by winning it. “

“Obviously it was not very nice to miss out on the Grand Slam, but we won it and that is the main thing. “

“That leaves us in a good position going into the World Cup later this year.”

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