Can England win the 2011 rugby world cup?

Full house at the Royal Automobile Club last night for our rugby panel, which was brilliantly moderated by Gabby Logan. Martin Bayfield and Kyran Bracken shared stories from the locker room, and some very funny stories from life on the road, especially before the game went professional.

The panel was split over who would win in New Zealand, though there was a consensus that the All Blacks could buckle under the weight of expectations and their dependence on a couple of principal players. Martin fancied Australia (for the “intelligence” of their play and players) and Kyran identified South Africa as a team that consistently rose to the big occasion. He said England had the same knack. The England players they rated as potential match winners: Courtney Lawes, Ben Young, an on-form Lewis Moody and Chris Ashton. Watch this space …

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