Former captain Lawrence Dallaglio believes that England beating South Africa in Saturday’s final would be the greatest-ever accomplishment by a World Cup-winning team.
Added to becoming the first northern-hemisphere side to win two World Cup titles, England also have a chance of completing the historic feat of claiming three consecutive victories against southern-hemisphere opposition at a World Cup.
England thrashed Australia during the quarter-final stage and were clinical during their semi-final win over the All Blacks. The 2003 world champions now need to beat the Boks at Yokohama Stadium to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time.
According to Dallaglio, achieving the feat would add extra gloss to the victory after an impressive World Cup campaign for the 2015 hosts, who failed to make the knockout stages four years ago.
‘If they were to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa I don’t think anyone could argue [against] that that would be the greatest World Cup achievement ever,’ said the former eighthman.
‘You know you have to win seven games to win the tournament – normally two of them end up being quite tough, but to have three back to back is another level. The only way to get respect from the people it’s hardest to get it from is to beat them.’
Added to the potential achievement, was England’s victory over Argentina, the fourth Rugby Championship side, during the pool stages of the tournament.
Dallaglio was an integral member of England’s forward pack when they beat Australia on home soil in 2003 and came off the bench when the Boks were victorious in 2007. Commenting on his nation’s performance against New Zealand, Dallaglio said that it was certainly one of the best he’s seen.
‘It was very, very impressive,’ he said. ‘One of the all-time great performances, especially when you factor in the occasion, what was at stake and the quality of the opposition.
‘The really impressive thing was there was a gameplan that was clearly put together and it was executed by the players from minute one to the end.’
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