Moody: No Arm in go­ing with­out a nat­u­ral seven

Midweek Sport - - SPORT -

ENG­LAND can win Rugby World Cup 2015 with­out a “so-called nat­u­ral seven” like St­ef­fon Ar­mitage, in­sists Lewis Moody.

The 2003 World Cup win­ner has launched a staunch de­fence of Chris Rob­shaw’s Eng­land cap­taincy, back­ing Stu­art Lan­caster’s side for glory next au­tumn.

Moody said Eng­land and Rob­shaw must not be “hung up” on the Ar­mitage sit­u­a­tion, with the Toulon back-rower un­likely to fea­ture in next year’s World Cup.

“There are al­ways doubts for any cap­tain, even if you’re right at the races,” Moody said.

“Some­one will al­ways be say­ing there’s a bet­ter player out there.

“And that’s cer­tainly some­thing Chris has had to deal with in re­cent weeks and months.

“I don’t think there’s any ques­tion over his cap­taincy, he’s earned that right over the last three years.

“We don’t tend to pro­duce the Richie McCaws, the David Po­cocks, the Michael Hoop­ers, and we haven’t had one since Neil Back.

Truck­load

“We al­ways clam­our for the so-called nat­u­ral seven, but we don’t ac­tu­ally re­ally do any­thing to pro­duce them.

“If you look at France and South Africa, who mostly play left and right, it be­comes ir­rel­e­vant.

“They have pro­duced some won­der­ful play­ers, Thierry Dusautoir, Schalk Burger and Fran­cois Louw.

“You wouldn’t term Louw an out-and-out seven, but he’s a fan­tas­tic player.

“Peo­ple have been hung up on this nat­u­ral seven, but what Eng­land ac­tu­ally have is a seven who works his back­side off, makes a truck­load of tack­les, car­ries a lot of ball, leads very well and does what his team needs ab­so­lutely bril­liantly.”

Moody be­lieves Eng­land must now come of age in the four-Test au­tumn se­ries and Six Na­tions in or­der to find suc­cess next year.

“It is im­por­tant Eng­land take some­thing de­ci­sive into the World Cup,” added Moody.

“In­juries make the au­tumn far tougher, but look­ing at the Six Na­tions, they’ve fin­ished sec­ond in the last two.

“They’ve reached the point where they have to de­liver.”

CON­FI­DENT: Moody

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