Lancaster: Why would we do all the work and then think we can’t win World Cup?

England head coach Stuart Lancaster pictured with Alex Goode yesterday during a training session at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot (Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).
England head coach Stuart Lancaster pictured with Alex Goode yesterday during a training session at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot (Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).
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England will enter the World Cup empowered by an emotional presentation from head coach Stuart Lancaster that has instilled the conviction they will be crowned global champions.

The hosts launch their quest for the Webb Ellis Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday, naming an unchanged starting XV following the 21-13 victory over Ireland 10 days ago.

The only adjustment to the 23 sees hooker Rob Webber replace Jamie George on the grounds of his superior international experience and scrummaging, while rugby league convert Sam Burgess continues to play the role of impact replacement.

Lancaster addressed his squad at their Surrey training camp on Sunday, using a video to help strike the right chord for a career-defining event.

“Basically all I was doing was articulating my belief and trying to build their belief that they can go on and win the tournament. Not in an arrogant way, but in a positive way,” Lancaster said.

“Why would we do all the work and get here and then think ‘can we, can’t we?’ We’ve just got to believe we can. It was about building belief.”

Brad Barritt, England’s defensive general, found the presentation particularly poignant given an injury-troubled international career that most recently saw him miss the Six Nations and the warm-up matches against France.

“It was a fantastic meeting, quite moving for every player. Everyone left feeling a bigger part of something special and feeling really honoured to be a part of this ride,” Barritt said. “Both the video and the way Stuart spoke was hugely emotive. I have no doubt it will resonate throughout the squad.”

England team to play Fiji: M Brown (Harlequins); A Watson (Bath), J Joseph (Bath), B Barritt (Saracens), J May (Gloucester); G Ford (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), C Lawes (Northampton), G Parling (Exeter), T Wood (Northampton), C Robshaw (Harlequins, capt), B Morgan (Gloucester).

Replacements: R Webber (Bath), M Vunipola (Saracens), K Brookes (Northampton), J Launchbury (Wasps), B Vunipola (Saracens), R Wigglesworth (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), S Burgess (Bath).