World Cup-winning former England captain Martin Johnson believes Eddie Jones’ side is building a level of experience that could see it emulate his all-conquering team of 2003.
England play Australia on Saturday and a win will equal the record 14-match winning streak set by Johnson’s men.
“We had a very experienced team at that point,” Johnson, 46, told BBC Sport.
“You’ve got a group now who have been around for a couple of World Cups, and have got a lot of caps.”
As England team manager from 2008 to 2011, Johnson was responsible for giving the likes of captain Dylan Hartley and scrum-half Ben Youngs their Test debuts.
Both are now integral parts of the set-up, with Hartley leading the side throughout 2016 and Youngs a consistent presence at scrum-half.
“Players like Ben Youngs and captain Dylan Hartley have 50 caps-plus, so they are getting into the part of their careers when they are at their peak,” added Johnson, who was recently inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
“We still need more players to come through and really hit that world-class level, and when you have a squad of 20-plus guys like that, you have a chance to really do something.”
A year ago, England were knocked out of their home World Cup at the group stage, but recovered to win the Grand Slam the following spring.
And Johnson, who won 84 England caps, feels the players have used their setbacks as motivation.
“They have had some disappointments like we all do, and you either fall away or use them to motivate yourself,” he added.
“I hope they are enjoying what they are doing. When you are winning it does create that momentum of good fun, and everyone wants to be in the group.”
Twice a captain of the British and Irish Lions, Johnson hopes England’s success will have a big impact on next year’s tour to New Zealand.
“It’s a Lions year and it would be great to see a whole chunk of Englishmen go on that tour,” he said.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38139296