English Rugby Have the Best Future of All

Dumont WalkerSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2009

VILAMOURA, PORTUGAL - JANUARY 30:  Steffon Armitage watches Danny Cipriani clear the ball during the England training session held at Browns Sports Complex on January 30, 2009 in Vilamoura, Portugal.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Continuing with our recent rugby trend here at Walker-Sports, I am more than happy to invite in one of the experts from Heaven's Game to discuss some of the hot issues in international rugby today.

Today the boys from the other side of the pond at Heaven's Game are talking about the future of English rugby, and I have to be honest with you, I think they nailed this one on the head.

Two decent halves of rugby have given English rugby fans real hope that their team has turned a positive corner.

The reality might not be quite that positive yet, but there are real signs of exciting times ahead. I have seen enough to convince me that if they can replace Shaw and Vickery adequately before the next world cup they are more of a chance of progressing to the pointy end of the tournament than either Wales or Ireland.

England are still a bit of a way off a competitive win over a Tri Nations team, but they have reached two rungs below these teams in the ladder. They have achieved a position where they are competitive with Wales and Ireland and through no lack of attractive play, not better than them at the moment but competitive.

You get the feeling that Ireland and to a lesser extent Wales are coming to the end of a cycle of players whereas England appear to be near the beginning.

Discipline is an issue for England as is leadership, but if I were an English rugby fan I would be placing a small wager at a betting shop on them picking up the Web Ellis trophy in Eden Park rather quickly.

Martin Johnson has much work to do, he could probably do without too many of his players going to South Africa with The Lions, that will be draining and he will be forced in the summer of 2010 to rest a lot of players from their summer tour then. Not an ideal situation as he will be starting his preparation for the RWC the following year.

The next 18 months will be a bit of a roller coaster ride for England but you get the feeling that it will be an enjoyable one.