Four years ago, England bowed out of their home World Cup on what was a miserable campaign for Stuart Lancaster’s men. England’s ‘pool of death’ saw them face Wales and Australia along with two easier games in Fiji and Uruguay. Asia awaits their arrival and this time England don’t need to worry about another World Cup pool of death.
England shouldn’t worry about their pool
England will open their campaign against Tonga, then face the USA, followed by Argentina and complete the group stages against France. Their two first games hold no threat and are a good opportunity to stretch their legs and brush off any last-minute nerves.
Both Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipola are set to miss at least the first two pool games according to England head coach, Eddie Jones.
This won’t pose too much of a concern for England given the opposition for those two pool games.
Tonga and USA pose no real threat
We would expect to see a slightly experimental side from Jones for the Tonga and USA matches. He will want to avoid injuries for those key influential players.
In an interview with the BBC Jones said that “You don’t your winning World Cup team until the final,” so don’t expect to see any set-in stone team anytime soon.
Argentina will be England’s first test
Argentina pose the first real threat to England when they face each other on October 5. The Pumas have had a poor run of games this summer and lost every game since July.
At times, they have looked good with the ball and shown some areas of good attacking rugby. Their defence has been lacking and they struggle defending counter attacks.
The Argentina game will be where we should start to see a more solidified England side. One where more senior players are present and a time where we can really start to suss out how England will fare during the tournament.
This will be the first time where we could see dynamic the Tualigi, Slade partnership.
Will the French turn up?
The cliché of which French side will turn up are words that will continue to be written down in the history books. For years, you never know whether the French will pose any kind of threat. One thing is certain though, never underestimate them.
England need to be smart for the French game. Long phases dominated by the forwards to tire the French’s huge physical pack. They will need to be tactical.
Exploit them in defence with their kicking game. Using the space behind their players and continually chase the ball.
England are expected to finish top of their pool and progress to the quarter finals. Their warm-up campaign has shown a side that has the capabilities to go far in the competition.
As long as England play physical, dynamic, smart rugby then their pool opposition should be a breeze. Although England don’t need to worry about another World Cup pool of death, anything at a World Cup is possible.
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