Rugby World Cup: England believe says Barritt
15:00 18 September 2015
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Saracens centre reveals confident camp
England certainly believe they can win the 2015 Rugby World Cup on home soil, but are only thinking about Fiji for now.
Stuart Lancaster has named the same XV that started the last warm-up match against Ireland to open the tournament against the islanders at Twickenham and Saracens’ centre Brad Barritt, who wins his 24th cap, says there is a confidence in the camp.
He said: “There’s been a belief from day one. We know we have the potential to go all the way, having said that, there’s a lot of hard work in between.
“You can’t really get ahead of yourselves, first and foremost it’s about taking it game by game. I know it’s a cliché to say, but ultimately that’s what builds momentum.
“The outlook for the Ireland game was, this was game one. We knew it was crucial against Ireland to get a win, to get that momentum and confidence in the squad and that’s job one done and now lets get onto job two and have a good outing against Fiji.
“The fact we did that in our last opportunity before a World Cup is a huge momentum builder and will give us a huge amount of confidence going into that game.”
England came flying out of the blocks against the Irish, with Jonny May touching down from their first serious attack, and fellow wing Anthony Watson going over in the first half also.
The defence held firm after that to give their rivals little sight of the line and Barritt added: “It’s definitely the way we want to play in terms of having an up-tempo game. We have got a fantastic squad that can pull the best out of each other and wants to be the best defensive team in the world.
“Those two key aspects in a World Cup can be a very powerful force. Defensively we’re delighted. A huge amount of work has gone in by Andy Farrell to get us all on the same page. We’d spoken after the French defeat in terms of our discipline and when we get that white wall we can potentially be the best defensive team in the world, that’s the marker we’ve set for ourselves and we’ve just got to get better with each game.”
Wingers May and Watson combined well with full back Mike Brown and their dynamic running from deep could prove key as England look to go deep in the tournament according to Barritt, who added: “When they’re one on one with people they can beat them.
“That’s the great form that they’ve shown in the past year and a half and that’s what the game plan was designed to do, to get the ball into their hands and give them the opportunity.
“But the performance was great from one to 23 and gives us a huge amount of momentum going into the Fiji game.
“If you spoke to every player, a Test match is a Test match so you’re going to want to win every time you step in an England shirt.
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but come the Fiji game I’m sure we’ll be bang on.”
Lancaster’s England hopefuls have been together for three months now, spending time at a training camp in Denver earlier in the summer before their warm-up matches and the decisions on the final 31-man squad.
Pennyhill Park has become home as preparations have been fine-tuned, but Barritt refuted talk of cabin fever and believes the group are as close-knit as any England squad in history.
He said: “Every time we’ve gone into either an autumn series, Six Nations or summer tour you can see by the end of that campaign the tightness and the team morale growing with each outing.
“We’ve had the longest possible amount of time together and you can see the way the guys care about each other and that shows on the pitch in terms of trust and discipline and everything we wanted to do in that defensive performance in trying to get the best out of each opportunity.
“It’s got better with each week. The more the guys spend time together, the more they understand about each other.
“A lot can be said for a person understanding another person on and off the pitch, in terms of how you perform together. The more you know about someone’s family, about their kids, their wife, you care. And that’s the feeling we have in this England changing room – togetherness and unity and a band of brothers.
“The hallmark of this squad is how everyone is tied in together. Across the board there is great competition, but everyone’s trying to bring the best out of each other – ‘He can learn from me, I can learn from him’.
“The camaraderie in the squad is as good as it’s ever been. One can’t underestimate the hard work that’s gone on, on and off the pitch, by the players and staff. We’ve got ourselves in a fantastic position now. We’re fit, we’re strong, in a good condition and the game plan is starting to marry up.”