England are the only side that stand a chance of stopping the All Blacks’ quest for a third straight Rugby World Cup, according to former coach Sir Clive Woodward.
With last night’s 71-9 victory over Namibia, the All Blacks have all but sealed their spot in this year’s World Cup quarter-finals, now odds on to meet Ireland first up in the knockout stage.
Having already beaten tournament contenders South Africa, Sir Clive states that only his former side can offer any kind of competition for the Webb Ellis Cup, the former World Cup winner wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“In fact, the only team I can see beating them is England,” Sir Clive says.
“All their (the All Blacks) traditional qualities have been to the fore: pace, high tempo, brilliant handling under pressure, the ability to absorb a team’s best shots and then counter-attack 90 yards to score.
“That opening win against the Boks decided the pool there and then and they will be looking to finish with a full-bore performance against a disappointing Italy.”
While the All Blacks will almost certainly top Pool A, England will need victory in their final match against France this weekend to ensure an easier passage towards the final.
The winner of Pool C – to be decided between England and France will face the runner up of Pool D – to be decided from Wales and Australia.
Should results fall favourably, then England and the All Blacks will meet in the World Cup semi-finals, to be played the weekend of October 26-27 NZT.