Everyone enjoys playing in their own country a lot more than they do playing away.Obviously home support, familiarity of the pitches and stadia, sleeping in your own bed or in a hotel you’re accustomed to; all these things count. “The difference between winning and losing at the highest level is minimal at times.I would imagine New Zealand are very wary of England in this next World Cup.
“My greatest regret is never really fulfilling our potential in World Cups, not beating Wales in the quarter-finals in 2011,” the former centre says.
“They outplayed us and that was a real disappointment.
On a stage like that, with a chance of getting to the semi-final, we didn’t perform.
Retired captains are often generous about other teams but Brian O’Driscoll sounds genuine when he says: “England can win the World Cup.
They’ve come a good distance under Stuart Lancaster.”For England to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on home soil next autumn they will first have to finish in the top two of a pool which includes Australia and Wales.
The Wallabies come to Twickenham at the end of next month and England begin their Six Nations campaign in Cardiff in February, giving those fixtures an added meaning.“England will put winning the Six Nations down as one of their goals,” says O’Driscoll, one of Ireland’s rugby greats. But a big thing for them is probably putting a marker down against Wales, knowing they’ll play them at Twickenham in September.That makes the Six Nations game more than just another game.They’ll definitely feel that winning it is an important stepping stone to going on to win the World Cup.” The autumn Tests start with England hosting New Zealand on November 8.The All Blacks beat Lancaster’s men 3-0 in the summer series but O’Driscoll does not think that gives the world champions the edge.He says: “The All Blacks will feel confident off the back of it but it’s a different prospect for England playing at Twickenham than in New Zealand.