England can handle World Cup – Brown

Mike BrownEngland full-back Mike Brown believes Stuart Lancaster’s men can handle the pressure of being hosts of the next World Cup and is backing the team to challenge for the top prize (England 7/2 – 2015 World Cup outright).

England will kick-off the World Cup against Fiji on September 18 next year with the goal of being back at the same venue to collect the Webb Ellis trophy on October 31.

In 1999 England shared the responsibility of hosting the World Cup but crumbled under the weight of expectation as they were beaten by South Africa in the quarter-finals.

Brown is determined to help England go further in 2015 but they face a difficult route to the quarter-finals, with Wales and Australia set to fight it out with the hosts for the top two positions in Pool A (England 6/5 – Pool A Winner).

Harlequins full-back Brown is likely to be a key man for Lancaster at the World Cup having overtaken Ben Foden as the national side’s first-choice over the last year.

Brown says that Lancaster has done a great job since taking charge and has the squad all pulling in the right direction, with the Quins ace confident the former Leeds coach can make sure they are not overawed by being the hosts of the World Cup.

“Obviously you never know until the time comes around, but I believe we will have the experience – gained at club and country level – to handle what is thrown at us,” he told the Telegraph.

“More than that, we can thrive on that pressure. Stuart Lancaster and the coaching staff will keep us in our little bubble, and help us keep concentrated on the job in hand.

“Stuart came in after the last World Cup and has done an excellent job of rebuilding the culture, bringing in players who are pulling in the right direction.

“There is a great team ethos and now we are really starting to show that we want to play an exciting, attacking brand of rugby. In addition our defence is second to none.”

Before England can focus on the World Cup they have the autumn internationals and the Six Nations to contend with.

World Cup favourites New Zealand (11/8) will be the first team to visit Twickenham to kick off the international season on November 8.

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