England going unbeaten is a real possibility - Greenwood

Will Greenwood talks exclusively to TRU about England Rugby
Will Greenwood talks exclusively to TRU about England Rugby

World Cup winner Will Greenwood believes it is ‘very likely’ that England can end 2016 unbeaten following their victory over South Africa on Saturday.

Greenwood was at Twickenham to see England’s 37-21 defeat of the Springboks, which secured a tenth win in a row for Eddie Jones’ side.

“It is very possible that we can end this season unbeaten. We are at home and we are currently the second best team in the world,” the former England centre told Talking Rugby Union.

“We don’t have to play the best team in the world over the next three weeks. If you’re a bookmaker, you have to have England odds on to finish this season unbeaten which would be fantastic achievement considering they have won the Grand Slam and beaten Australia down-under.”

England have not lost since Jones took over the role as England Head Coach from Stuart Lancaster in November 2015 and the Red Rose now have their sights set on completing the season without suffering a defeat as they prepare to take on Fiji, Argentina and Australia.

It has been a remarkable transition for England since their disappointing World Cup campaign 13 months ago, but Greenwood believes that even under Lancaster, the current crop of players had all the tools for success.

“I can believe the transition England have made over 2016 because I think the squad that Stuart Lancaster went to the World Cup with were a very good side,” he added.

“Everyone thought I was daft because I said we could get to the semi-final and granted, it does look ridiculous now, but if we had the World Cup in England this month, we’d be thinking about winning it or playing New Zealand in the final.

“It is effectively the same group of players which Eddie Jones is working with, but he has now installed confidence in this squad and made a few tweaks and changes and they are now flying high.

“They are an enjoyable side to watch, very difficult to beat and they have plenty of pace and power. On the road is slightly different, but I am struggling to see who can beat them at Twickenham.”

Next up for England is the visit of Fiji on Saturday as England go in search of win number 11, with Jones expected to make a few changes from the triumph over South Africa.

Winger Semsea Rokoduguni is set to make his first England start since 2014 while flanker Tom Wood has been left out of the 25-man training squad.

Rokoduguni is set to replace Marland Yarde on the right wing, while Fiji-born Nathan Hughes will come in for Wood if he recovers from a leg injury.

Elsewhere, Alex Goode may get the nod ahead of regular full-back Mike Brown and Jonathan Joseph maybe being considered for a return to the starting XV instead of Elliot Daly and Greenwood feels that the strength in depth which England currently have aids Jones’ decision making.

“What Eddie Jones is asking them to do isn’t overly complicated which means it is easy to copy and paste players in, “added Greenwood.

“They have to buy into the mentality and he is tough on people. Just look at the current squad for this weekend; Tom Wood has been sent back home and last week Semesa Rokoduguni was not included.

“I was thinking what does he [Rokoduguni] have to do to get a cap, but now he has been given that opportunity while Tom Wood might have to wait again.  It is a great squad to be a part of and the players now have to focus on staying in the set-up once they get their chance.”

England 25-man training squad:

Forwards: Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Jamie George (Saracens), Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te'o (Worcester Warriors), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)