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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 08:13 GMT
England's 2007 XV
15: Josh Lewsey (Wasps)
14: Marcel Garvey (Gloucester)
13: Stuart Abbott (Wasps)
12: Ollie Smith (Leicester)
11: Ben Cohen (Northampton)
10: Jonny Wilkinson (N'cstle)
9: Martyn Wood (Bath)
1: Trevor Woodman (Gloucs)
2: Steve Thompson (Northants)
3: Phil Vickery (Gloucester)
4: Ben Kay (Leicester)
5: Tom Palmer (Leeds)
6: Lewis Moody (Leicester)
7: Jamie Forrester (Gloucester)
8: Joe Worsley (Wasps)
England have just won their first major title in 37 years but such is Clive Woodward's unquenchable thirst for victory that he was already plotting for 2007 before the 2003 tournament was over.

Whether "Dad's Army", as the older members of the World Cup winners have been billed, decides to retire immediately or not, few of the stars of 2003 will be there to launch a challenge four years on.

BBC Sport looks at the side Woodward, who has a contract to see England through to the next tournament, could well opt to play.


Josh Lewsey
15. Josh Lewsey
Full-back, Wasps

It takes a special kind of player to force Jason Robinson out of his position of choice, but Lewsey pulled it off in the build-up to the World Cup.

And the number 15 shirt looks his for the long-term after scoring five World Cup tries as well as enjoying a strong rapport with fellow back-three runners Robinson and Ben Cohen.

The 26-year-old ex-Army officer is nicknamed OJ because his first name is actually Owen.


Marcel Garvey
14. Marcel Garvey
Right wing, Gloucester

Garvey will only be 24 by the time World Cup kicks off in France but has already shown a lot of potential for England A and the Kingsholm faithful.

He may be built like a boxer but his pace is truly stunning - and he has repeatedly run rings around opposition defences in the Premiership.

There's a tough line of wingers queuing up for Woodward's attention but Garvey holds the edge over the likes of Phil Christophers and James Simpson-Daniel.


Stuart Abbott
13. Stuart Abbott
Outside centre, Wasps

The "Silent Assassin" grew up in South Africa but is now England through and through, having opted to stick with the country of his mother rather than the land of his roots.

It was another South African - Joel Stransky - who was responsible for luring Abbott to England and Leicester during the 1999 World Cup.

He snuck into England's tournament squad in 2003 and looked a devastating runner every time he got his hands on the ball.


Ollie Smith
12. Ollie Smith
Inside centre, Leicester

Many had given the call for Ollie Smith to make it into Woodward's side for this World Cup, but he missed out to the likes of Mike Catt.

The move turned out to be a shrewd one, but Smith has already proved himself world class in England colours.

He impressed straight away as a replacement in the Six Nations game against Italy and seems set to form a long-term centre partnership with Abbott.


Ben Cohen
11. Ben Cohen
Left wing, Northampton

One of the guaranteed names on the team-sheet and looks likely to be a key player for England in 2007.

He was a little invisible for much of the World Cup but 25 tries in 35 Tests shows his usefulness to England.

There will be quicker runners in 2007 - think Joe Rokocoko and Rupeni Caucaunibuca - but Cohen's tackling and power as well as his exceptional work-rate make up for that.


Jonny Wilkinson
10. Jonny Wilkinson
Fly-half, Newcastle

Arguably the world's best player. Come 2007, he will undoubtedly be leading out England, injury permitting that is.

At the relatively young age of 24, Wilko has seemingly been around for ever and already has a half-century of caps under his belt.

Despite his relatively small size, he is a fearsome tackler, marshals the players around him superbly and is the best kicker in the world - both from the tee and also out of hand.


Martyn Wood
9. Martyn Wood
Scrum-half, Bath

Unlike some of the players in our line-up, Wood has actually been to the World Cup before, clocking up a serious amount of air miles in an extremely short space of time.

Sadly for the Bath number nine, he travelled all the way to Australia as cover for Matt Dawson and Kyran Bracken only to be told they were fine and he was surplus to requirements when he got there.

Arguments that, at 30, he may be a little past his peak in 2007 are nonsense. That will make him younger than Messrs Dawson and Bracken this time around.


Trevor Woodman
1. Trevor Woodman
Prop, Gloucester

England packed their bags on the return trip from Australia safe in the knowledge that their front row could well be the same four years on.

Woodman, like Vickery, will only be 31 and, like a fine wine, props always tend to get better with age as they get to grips with the intricacies of the front row.

Unlike Vickery and Thompson, he is less explosive on the field but gets on with the job like Jason Leonard.


Steve Thompson
2. Steve Thompson
Hooker, Northampton

There is plenty of time before the next World Cup for Thompson to work on his dire line-out throwing - the only weak aspect of his game.

At 25, he still has plenty to learn about the game, but the former flanker has caught on quickly about the rigours of the front row.

His years in the back row are the reason he is such a good runner in the loose. He was also Britain's under-18 roller skating champion.


Phil Vickery
3. Phil Vickery
Prop, Gloucester

Vickery will be the leader of the scrum in this future XV, having already captained England at international level.

Already encroaching on 19 stone, he has no need to add to his bulk which is already his greatest strength in the set pieces.

Known as "Raging Bull", he enjoys the odd foray on the attack and bears a tattoo which, roughly translated, means "I'll fight you to the death".


Tom Palmer
4. Tom Palmer
Lock, Leeds

Palmer could have been wearing the blue of Scotland in 2007, having represented the country at under-21 level.

He opted for England, though, and was duly rewarded when he was called up for the tour of North America.

He has a tough job filling the hefty shoes of Martin Johnson and will need to bulk up to come anywhere close to making the physical impact of England's captain in the set pieces.


Ben Kay
5. Ben Kay
Lock, Leicester

Kay has enjoyed a stunning rapport with Johnson in England's second row and has some time to forge a new partnership in major internationals.

The Leicester lock could still do with adding to his reasonably slight frame - well in second-row terms anyway - as well as gaining further experience in his role.

But come 2007, when Woodward puts pen to paper for his starting line-up, Kay is an absolute certainty.


Lewis Moody
6. Lewis Moody
Flanker, Leicester

Moody has been knocking on England's back-row door for an age now and Woodward finally looks set to let him in.

The Leicester player has flourished under the tutelage of Neil Back and Josh Kronfeld at club level.

And, although overlooked for England's first-choice back row at the World Cup, took the line-out ball which led to Jonny Wilkinson's tournament-winning drop goal.

Four years should be enough time to right some of the handling wrongs in his game, but his determination to succeed as well as Woodward's admiration for him ought to hold him in good stead.


Jamie Forrester
7. Jamie Forrester
Flanker, Gloucester

Forrester marked himself out as a star of the future when he received the ball 20 metres from his own try line on his England debut against the Barbarians.

He promptly sprinted the length of the field, outpacing Jonah Lomu en route to the try line.

If the voices from Kingsholm are to be believed, this is a regular occurrence in the Premiership, which means Forrester has the ability to take the 2007 tournament by storm.


Joe Worsley
8. Joe Worsley
Number eight, Wasps

Woodward has shaken his head at the lack of Worsley's maturity on many an occasion and did so again when the player applauded the crowd after being sin-binned against at the World Cup.

But the Wasps forward has never really had an extended chance to settle in England's back-row, a problem which will surely be righted in the coming seasons.

Supremely fit, he may lack the same presence as Lawrence Dallaglio but is an admirable controller at the base of the scrum and should instil fear as he charges at the opposition.


Replacements

First on the subs' bench would have to be Charlie Hodgson - the Sale number 10 is the clear understudy to Jonny Wilkinson.

Front-row cover could well come in the shape of Hodgson's club-mate Matt Cairns at hooker and one of England's forgotten men, Bath prop David Flatman.

Alex Codling, of Harlequins, could shore up the second row from the bench, while Leicester's Will Skinner, billed as the new Neil Back, could match most of his back-row rivals.

In the backs, Mike Tindall's experience may prove invaluable as will that of Iain Balshaw, by then relative OAPs in the England set-up.





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