Grand Slam momentum and an inspirational captain can see Wales go all the way and become world champions this autumn.

And former Lions legend Jeremy Guscott sees traits in Warren Gatland's class of 2019 to the one that brought England coach Sir Clive Woodward, the Webb Eliis Trophy 16 years ago. 

Guscott himself came within a whisker of global glory at Twickenham back in 1991, being part of the England team narrowly beaten 12-6 by the Wallabies in the final.

Now the 65-times capped midfield maestro, who also earned made eight Lions Test appearances, believes Wales can go all the way and become only the second northern hemipshere nation to lift the most glittering of prizes in rugby.

The BBC pundit wrote in the Rugby Paper: "The question that keeps on coming up is whether Wales, having won a Grand Slam in World Cup year, just as England did in 2003, have the same momentum to go on and become world champions?

Wales can go all the way in Japan, says Jeremy Guscott
 

"I don't see any reason why it shouldn't give them the same chance.

"They are among the favourites on huge merit because they have beaten everyone apart from New Zealand and they deserve their position as the number two team in the world.

"When you talk to members of the 2003 England squad, there was no doubt they felt they had earned their number one position going into the tournament, and there was also no doubt in my mind they would go all the way to the final.

"Wales are in almost the same position, but there is one big difference. They have not had the same away wins over the major southern hemisphere powers."

The driving force behind England's 2003 victory over the Wallabies was their captain fantastic Martin Johnson, while the All Blacks have had Richie McCaw as their inspirational on-field leader in their 2011 and '15 victories.

England captain Martin Johnson lifts the World Cup in 2003
England captain Martin Johnson lifts the World Cup in 2003
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw with the Webb Ellis Cup after beating Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final

Guscott believes in Alun Wyn Jones, Wales have a player right up their with two icons of world rugby.

"A significant reason for thinking that Wales could make it is that they have a fantastic, inspirational captain in Alun Wyn Jones," added Guscott.

"When he first came into the Welsh squad Jones had the backing of Gatland as a player, however at that stage he did not see him as a captain.

"He grafted and grafted, and that combination with his athleticism and determination, has seen him recognised as one of the great second-row players to play the international game.

 

"Like World Cup-winning captains Martin Johnson and Richie McCaw before him, Jones has been an absolute totem for Wales and as along as he remains fit, I give them every chance.

"I can't believe they will not get to a semi-final.

"However if they meet England in the quarter-finals in Japan it will be a time of reckoning, where Wales will have to decide whether they are a 'could have, should have' side, or one that did it.

"They are a team who plays to its strengths - and no one identifies strengths and builds a team around them better than Gatland."