Lancaster faces up to fierce World Cup task
December 3, 2012
England's Stuart Lancaster and Chris Robshaw at the World Cup draw © PA Photos
England head coach Stuart Lancaster accepted his side face a tough route to the latter stages of the 2015 World Cup after being drawn alongside Australia and Wales in Monday's pool draw.
Pool A, that will be completed by two qualifiers, Oceania 1 (probably Fiji) and the play-off winner, possibly Uruguay, promises to be intensely competitive and Lancaster believes the youthful nature of the Wales, Australia and England squads mean they will all be in top shape to challenge for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
"To win the World Cup you have to win big games," he said. "Wales I have a huge amount of respect for and for what they have done recently and where they will be positioned. I know their squad pretty well and there are still going to be a lot of them around in 2015.
"Australia have just beaten us and are an incredibly competitive nation. Again you look at the age and profile of their squad and a lot of those lads will be around as well. We have a few young lads as well so we will look forward to it in a few years' time."
Asked if he was excited or daunted by the prospect of spearheading the host nation at the World Cup, he said: "It is unbelievably exciting. Twelve months ago I went out to New Zealand for two weeks and got a sample of what it is like out there.
"Walking the streets and just being around the city and the impact it made on the country was great. We have seen from our own point of view what the Olympics has done for our country and the next big sporting event in this country is the World Cup in 2015 and by that time everybody is going to be revved up for it and ready for it."
England skipper Chris Robshaw told Sky Sports News: "It's going to be tough but all the pools are pretty tough, aren't they? Hopefully we'll hit the ground running and it'll be great for the fans.
"We'll cross paths with Australia next autumn and we've got a couple of Six Nations (tournaments) with Wales. A lot of people were saying in the build-up that England and Wales have never been in the same pool so you start to think 'here it comes'."
On the possibility of Fiji taking the Oceania spot in the group, he added: "They always raise their game for the World Cup, they've taken down a couple of big names. Obviously we can't confirm that until we know but we won't take whoever that is lightly."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
A preview of the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season as we run the rule over Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and London Irish
Concussion specialist Dr Ryan Kohler warns of the dangers of pushy parents who want their kids back on the field ahead of time
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes