Jonny Wilkinson expects England to reach the same heights as the famous 2003 squad
A grand slam followed by a 3-0 series whitewash in Australia took the Red Rose to second in the world rankings
The World Cup winner also found time to discuss Owen Farrell’s rise
Jonny Wilkinson scored a winning drop goal in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final and is one of England’s most recognisable sporting faces of the last 20 years.
When asked if he thought they could scale the heights his 2003 England team did, the 37-year-old leaves no room for ambiguity.
“Yes, definitely, they can. They are already at a good stage now. In our build-up, in 1999 and 2000, we were starting to get there, but we weren’t 3-0 away to Australia form, that’s for sure.
“They are ahead of where we were in that build-up period. It is now a question of how they utilise the next three years.”
The World Cup winner also found time to discuss Owen Farrell’s rise and his on-off coaching relationship with him.
“It is quite ad hoc but that, for me, is the beauty of that kind of work. We keep in touch. Sometimes I see him quite a lot.
Other times we’ll just have a chat. I know that if I don’t hear from him, I’m loving it because it means he is on his own path.
“We are not trying to combine journeys. For Owen, it is his journey and I am a very small part of that.”
“He can’t know what is going on in my head and what I try to do is to allow him to bring the issues to me. No one’s journey is straightforward. There will be down moments. There already have been. There is no end point. What we get is just the best version of Owen Farrell.”