UGO MONYE is backing England to answer their critics with a first Six Nations title in seven years.
The Red and Whites have not lifted the trophy since Clive Woodward’s since triumphed in 2003 – before they then went on to win the World Cup.
Head coach Martin Johnson captained the team that year and is now plotting to lead his side on a similar path with the next World Cup little over a year away.
Johnson’s side were criticised for a lack of attacking intention during the autumn internationals, prompting the boss to put his faith in uncapped rugby league converts Shontayne Hape and Chris Ashton when naming his 32-man elite performance squad on Wednesday.
Harlequins wing Monye was part of the side which finished second to Grand Slam winners Ireland in last year’s Six Nations, and believes his side are primed to go one better this time round.
“We definitely should go into it thinking that we can win it,” Monye said. “It will be difficult but I think it is definitely possible that we can win it. All we have to do is have the belief that we can.
“We have very high expectations of ourselves and just have to have the confidence to win it. We have a very good coaching staff and have to have belief within the playing staff that we can win it.
“We have players who are playing well for their teams domestically and we just need them to transfer that form onto the international stage.”
Meanwhile, ex-dual-code star Henry Paul is backing Bath centre Hape to be an England rugby union hit.
Paul, who played alongside the ex-New Zealand rugby league international for the Bradford Bulls, said: “He’s got A, B, C and D. He’s a joy to play with, a creator who plays attractive rugby.”