Dan Carter tips England to challenge for World Cup glory


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The Independent Online

Stuart Lancaster has turned England into genuine contenders for next year's World Cup, according to the New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter.

The 32-year-old also believes England have a realistic chance of claiming Test victories in the June series in New Zealand.

England face the All Blacks in three Tests in Auckland, Dunedin and Hamilton, and Crusaders playmaker Carter believes the All Blacks have their work cut out to secure a series victory.

England's last win in New Zealand came in Wellington in June 2003 as Clive Woodward's side geared up for their World Cup victory in November that year.

Carter knows how much confidence Jonny Wilkinson and the team took from that Test win in New Zealand 11 years ago, and admits Lancaster's generation have the ability to pull off a repeat.

"It's going to be a great Test series, they are building momentum and getting a strong squad together and building a lot of confidence," the 100-cap outside-half said.

"I'm sure they'll love to challenge themselves against the best around, they are right up there and they are looking forward to coming down and playing us.

"Having a win there would add a lot of confidence to the direction that they are moving, so there'll be a lot of hype and excitement that will make for a great Test series in June."

Carter capped a three-week world tour by kicking rugby balls off a barge on the River Thames in the shadow of Tower Bridge.

After a whistle-stop tour of the United States and Europe, Carter will now return to New Zealand and try to return to full fitness by July after an Achilles problem.

New Zealand completed a 14-win perfect calendar year in 2013, and have lost just one Test in 35, to England at Twickenham in December 2012.