England skipper confident of making first XV against Argentina

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The Rugby World Cup is just over a week away and as teams begin to arrive in New Zealand, the betting is hotting up.

Simon Shaw’s appearance in New Zealand yesterday following a bout of flu means England are now at their full compliment, and all 30 guys are looking forward to starting their World Cup challenge.

One man more eager than most is captain Lewis Moody who has featured in just 60 minutes of international rugby this year.

Moody’s injury problems didn’t stop Martin Johnson saving a place in the squad for the flanker, and it seems Johnson’s faith is to be repaid with Moody confident of facing Argentina on September 10.

“Everyone has been very confident and I am happy at how it has gone,” said Moody. “The target is still next week and playing against Argentina.”

“The most important thing is that the medics and the physios are happy with me and they are not going to risk me if it is not right and I go in and knacker it again.”

England are 1/8 to defeat Argentina in their opening game and victory would put Johnson’s side well on their way to top spot in Pool B.

It’s hard to see Georgia or Romania causing any sort of problems to England and it’s the games with Argentina and Scotland that will define England’s place in the group.

With Scotland not playing England until the final round of group fixtures, a win for England against Argentina should see Johnson’s side enter that game with three wins under their belt and a certain place in the latter stages.

England are 2/7 to top Pool B with Argentina and Scotland both available at 5/1.

England are 14/1 to win the World Cup, 4/1 to reach the final and a huge 10/1 to go out at the pool stage.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.