Six World Cups and only one victor from the northern hemisphere – England’s nail-biting defeat of Australia in 2003 bringing ‘Bill’ to Europe for the first, and to date only, time since the inaugural tournament in 1987.
Most pundits have predicted that the 2011 title will be going to one of either New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, with few people giving a Six Nations side much of a chance of repeating England’s success in Sydney eight years ago. England, as they did in the 1991, 1995 and 2003 World Cups, arrive at the tournament as reigning Six Nations champions, but with a young side still on a steep learning curve. As for Scotland and Wales, neither country enjoyed a particularly successful Six Nations and both will want to improve on their displays at the 2007 World Cup in France.
Rugby World sat down with three of the stars from England, Wales and Scotland – Lewis Moody, Lee Byrne and Sean Lamont – shortly before they flew out to New Zealand to discuss all things World Cup, from pressure to performance
to porridge! Here’s what the home nations trio had to say…
Rugby World: What is the key to a successful World Cup for your team?
Sean Lamont: Cutting out the basic errors, something that we improved on during the Six Nations but which still needs work. If you look at the first match of the Six Nations, when we lost to France in Paris, their four tries all came from Scottish mistakes. So we have to play error-free rugby in New Zealand if we want to do well.
Lewis Moody: Consistency of form will be crucial. Every team raises their game by a massive amount in the World Cup, and so every game is a challenge. We have to stay focused in every game and be consistently at our best.
RW: Will your family be travelling out to New Zealand for the World Cup?
Lewis Moody: My wife’s mum actually lives in Nelson (at the top of New Zealand’s South Island). She’s English but she emigrated there about ten years ago. So my wife will be coming out to spend time with her, which will be good as I’ll see a lot of her.
Sean Lamont: My wife will probably come out at some point but the rest of the family won’t be out there.
RW: What will you eat for breakfast on the day of a World Cup match?
Lewis Moody: Haggis for you, isn’t it Sean?
Sean Lamont: (laughs) Whatever takes my fancy, really; I don’t have anything in particular.
Lee Byrne: Porridge and scrambled egg.
Lewis Moody: I’m like Sean in that I don’t have any strict guidelines. Often it’s porridge. I’m more particular about lunch on match days, usually eating some skinless chicken, broccoli and pasta.
RW: Who are the favourites for the World Cup?
Sean Lamont: I don’t know. World Cups always throw up one or two big upsets, often involving the favourites, so I really couldn’t say. People say the southern hemisphere is stronger than the north at the moment, but they always say that before World Cups.
Lewis Moody: I think New Zealand go in as favourites.
This article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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