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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Graphic: average age and caps of Rugby World Cup winning teams and how England might compare in 2015

Following the shambles of England's World Cup failure in New Zealand earlier this year, plans are in motion to focus on 2015, when the tournament will be hosted on these shores.

Studying the last four World Cup winners the RFU calculated average team ages of 27, 28, 27 and 28. The number of caps held by Australia (1999), England (2003), South Africa (2007) and New Zealand (2011) was 622, 638, 668 and 709 for Graham Henry’s All Blacks, the most experienced of the quartet.

With Jonny Wilkinson now retired, his former place at No 10 is now fully open to Toby Flood, who will be 30 in 2015 and could have 79 caps by then.

Ben Youngs, Chris Ashton, Ben Foden and Manu Tuilagi are other likely regulars in the next four-year cycle. They could be joined in the backs by the exciting Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples and Owen Farrell, son of Andy, who is part of Stuart Lancaster’s temporary coaching team.

In the pack, Tom Croft, Tom Wood and James Haskell are the projected back row with Courtney Lawes and Dave Attwood at lock and Joe Marler joining Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole at the shoving end.

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