sport

Tindall tips England for Slam

Former England captain Mike Tindall is backing the team for Grand Slam glory in this year's Six Nations.

Stuart Lancaster's side remain on course for a clean sweep of the 2013 competition after following up their victories over Scotland and Ireland by defeating France 23-13 at Twickenham on Saturday.

To secure their first Grand Slam in a decade, England must now overcome Italy at home and then Wales in Cardiff, and Tindall - who was part of the 2003 triumph and won the World Cup in the same year - is confident it can be achieved.

Asked if England were going to be Grand Slam champions this year, the Gloucester centre told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek: "I think they definitely can now.

"I just think where they are as a team in terms of getting the job done, they could win it on that alone, and if they can get good quick ball and get their attacking game flowing, I think they can win it comfortably.

"Italy are great for throwing up shocks - they almost did it against England last year (in Rome).

"But I wouldn't expect Italy at home to be an upset, and then going down to Cardiff for the last game - the Welsh love nothing more than spoiling an English party, but I think England have got that toughness at the moment.

"They play together as a team, and dog it out together as a team. I think they can go down there and get that win."

England's current skipper Chris Robshaw was once again a stand-out performer yesterday, picking up the man of the match award for a second successive game.

There have been calls for Robshaw, whose England captaincy had come under considerable scrutiny in the autumn, to lead the British and Irish Lions this summer and Tindall feels the Harlequins flanker is likely to be the leading candidate for the job if the Grand Slam is sealed.

Asked if he thought Robshaw could be a great Lions captain, Tindall said: "Definitely.

"It is tough at the moment to pick who is going to get that job, but I think if we end up with a Grand Slam-winning team, and he is captain and has been winning man of the match awards, it is going to be hard for him not to be the number one candidate."

England head coach Lancaster believes Robshaw, who he appointed as captain in January 2012, is "growing as a leader".

Lancaster said: "As a player, he is at the top of his game and he is growing as a leader, there is no doubt about it - and the players are following him.

"I think he leads by example, and does so in the way he plays and the contribution he makes on the field. But also he is not a big ranter or raver.

"He has the ability to make sound decisions and think clearly while the game is going on, which is a difficult skill when you are playing at open-side.

"It is not for me to choose the Lions squad, or the captain. But I certainly think, when it comes to selection, he is going to be right up there.

"If you keep winning man of the match in the Six Nations, you can't be far off."