Moody backs England's youth
England captain Lewis Moody believes his youthful team has what it takes to upset the odds and beat New Zealand at Twickenham.
Last Updated: 04/11/10 7:04pm
England captain Lewis Moody believes his youthful team has what it takes to upset the odds and beat New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
The All Blacks top the International Rugby Board's world rankings, having won the 2010 Tri-Nations without losing a game, while Martin Johnson's England are back in sixth as he searches for a settled side.
Moody and Mark Cueto are the only members of the team beaten by the All Blacks last November, while five of Saturday's starters have never played Test rugby at Twickenham before.
Bath flanker Moody believes that, despite the size of Saturday's task, the youthful exuberance and potential of the squad can come through with flying colours.
"New Zealand are a quality side at the minute. They are ranked number one in the world. The challenge ahead of us is a very steep one and a difficult one," said Moody.
"When you play the best team in the world, you are always underdogs but I have a lot of confidence in this team and the guys within it.
"It is a really good group of lads we have got at the minute with Youngs, Lawes, Cole, Ashton, Foden. They are playing some great rugby. The hunger and enthusiasm they have brought has been brilliant.
"The environment in the England camp has changed for the better in every way in the last 12 months. This team is going in the right direction and that has been boosted by some good performances in the last few games.
"We are in as good a place as we have been in a long while. We got that win in Australia and it is important to keep improving.
"I think the potential of this team is huge, I really do. There is no reason this team can't go on and be together for a long period of time and perform at levels we know it can."
"There is no better place to be playing the All Blacks than at Twickenham. We know it will be an incredibly tough encounter and the challenge will be very difficult but that is why you play the game."
Moody knows what it takes to beat New Zealand, having played a try-scoring role in England's 31-28 triumph in 2002, and he would love to repeat that feat as he leads England out at home for the first time.
"Yes, without a doubt," Moody said if asked if captaining at Twickenham was a special moment.
"It is never something that has driven me as a player. What drives me is to be part of a quality team that wants to take the field to win. That is still the same for me.
"To have that privilege is wonderful but I won't be thinking about that before the game."