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Carling worried about England

Former England captain Will Carling is concerned that England's lack of a settled selection could be its undoing at the Rugby World Cup.

As host nation, and the second favourite to win the tournament, England have seen their World Rugby ranking slip below Wales who now hold fifth position after they beat Ireland at the weekend, and England lost to France a week earlier.

Carling, who led the side at the 1991 and 1995 World Cups said of England's squad, "The worrying part is you look at all the teams that have done it in the past and they have very settled combinations and a lot of experience. We don't have that," he told PA Sport.

"A huge amount of Test rugby is split second stuff, instinctive decisions and you get that by playing alongside guys for quite a period of time.

"We won't have that, so we'll have to make it up in other areas and that will make it hard for us," he said.

Winning the 'pool of death' meant beating Australia, Wales and Fiji with the prize being an easier road to the final.

Carling said he would like to think England could win the pool but he was concerned Australia had got themselves in the right place at the right time.

"It's my heart that says us, but then I look at Wales and think they're a very good team.

"Talk about pressure of a home World Cup – no one has ever played in a pool like that before. That really is pressure and you can't call it. They're all quite capable of beating each other," he said.

It would be a case of the winners getting it right on the day while coping with the pressure. And much of that would be mental pressure, not physical which he felt gave the Australians an advantage.