England number eight Nick Easter believes his team’s Six Nations form is full of promise ahead of the World Cup in New Zealand.
After victories over Wales, Italy and France, England are the only unbeaten team in the Six Nations championship and are within reach of their first Grand Slam since 2003.
They won the World Cup for the first time later that same year and came close to retaining it with an unexpected run to the final in 2007.
If England can transfer their current form into the tournament – to be held in New Zealand in September and October – Easter and his team-mates could yet reach a third consecutive final.
“We have won three from three and the balance is there, which is important,” Easter said.
“James Haskell is playing as well as he ever has in an England shirt and Tom Wood, for a guy who only has three caps, he made his debut against Wales, he is showing he is well equipped for international rugby.”
“You have to have the solidity, you have got to have continuity and consistency in selection,” he added.
“There will be bolters who come through, there always are in a big squad, but it’s important for the team to know how to play in pressure situations and play together, that’s why the Six Nations is so important, as it always is before the World Cup.”
“It is the last meaningful tournament before that, but at the moment our focus is purely on the Six Nations.”
Easter pinpointed the combination of emerging talent and more experienced players as one of England’s strengths.
“You have to have some experienced guys, and game leaders are important,” he said.
“Nine and 10 are our game leaders. Toby Flood has been around for a while but he has not been a consistent starter and Ben Youngs only made his debut in Australia.”
“There have been older guys myself, Mike Tindall, Steve Thompson and Simon Shaw on the bench who add a lot of value during the week, in the build up and preparation.”