Can England replicate the heroics of 2003?
The 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand kicks-off next month and England's preparations are well underway for their opening fixture against Argentina on September 10th in Dunedin.

Lewis Moody captained England to a 23-19 victory over Wales today at Twickenham in the first of three warm-up games leading up to the World Cup.

James Haskell and Manu Tuilagi scored the tries for England and Jonny Wilkinson kicked thirteen points to ensure victory for a re-shuffled home side at Twickenham.

Tuilagi showed glimpses of power and speed in his debut England test, which will encourage Johnson, but a suspected knee injury to captain Moody will keep the England coach on edge.

The England side, who today donned their controversial new 'All-Black' kit, have plenty of back-up though with fourty squad members available for selection including the likes of Mouritz Botha, Tom Palmer and Alex Corbisiero.

However, Leicester's George Chuter and Thomas Waldrom, Saracens winger David Strettle and Gloucester back James Simpson-Daniel missed out on making the preliminary fourty-man cut this week as well as Wasps forward, Joe Worsley.

England coach, Martin Johnson, spoke highly of the latest players to be released from international duty but went on to explain that only the best thirty players in England would be selected if he and the squad are to bring home the World Cup from New Zealand.

England will now travel to the Millennium Stadium next Saturday to face the same side they triumphed over today, however, the sides are likely to have a completely different look as the repspective coaches look to have an in-depth look at their squads before the World Cup and the final thirty-man decision is made.

After this, England will play their final warm-up game against Ireland on August 27th. Ireland are currently ranked one place above England in the IRB World Rankings in fourth place and will provide a tough test for Johnson and co. 

If England manage to remain unbeaten leading up to the World Cup, the selected players will be buoyant and fully confident that they can go all the way in New Zealand as they attempt to replicate the heroics of the England side of 2003.

England have been drawn alongside Argentina, Romania, Georgia and Scotland in Pool B and Johnson will be hoping that his squad remains fit and focused leading up to the first game in September.

New Zealand are 4/7 favourites to lift the trophy on their own turf but the likes of Australia, South Africa, France, Wales, Ireland and England will be hoping to topple the All Blacks and reign as the kings of international rugby.

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