For (too) many months, England has been swimming in an ocean of doubts. His brilliant victory against the All Blacks in the semi-finals of the last World Cup is far, far away. Placed in a group well within its reach, with Argentina and Japan, the XV de la Rose has no choice but to reach the quarter-finals. On pain of plunging into an unprecedented crisis.
The English are now coached by a former home, Steve Borthwick, who played 57 games with the XV de la Rose between 2001 and 2010. The former second line is only beginning his career as head coach, after being assistant between 2012 and 2020. He then took charge of Leicester Tigers, winning the Premier League and reaching the Challenge Cup final in 2021.
Form of England XV
For more than two years now, England has been looking for itself. Under the aegis of Eddie Jones, the XV de la Rose ended up collapsing, ending the 2021 and 2022 Six Nations Tournaments with three defeats. Sacked in December 2022, the Australian, who has since taken over as head of the Australian XV, has been replaced by Steve Borthwick. And success is still not there.
During the last Six Nations, despite timid victories against Italy and Wales, England has still not regained its feelings. Worse still, she suffered a historic slap against France at Twickenham (10-53). Worse still (bis), the English ended their preparation for this World Cup with a humiliation at Twickenham against Fiji. Bitter failures for a team that does not lack qualities. With Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell (who will be suspended at the start of the competition) and other Marcus Smith, the XV of the Rose can and must do better.
England match schedule
The list of 33
Pillars : Dan Cole, Ellis Genge, Joe Marler, Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart.
hookers : Theo Dan, Jamie George, Jack Walker.
Second lines: Ollie Chessum, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, David Ribbans.
Third lines: Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Lewis Ludlam, George Martin, Billy Vunipola, Jack Willis.
Scrum half: Danny Care, Alex Mitchell, Ben Youngs.
Fly-half: Owen Farrell, George Ford, Marcus Smith.
Centers: Ollie Lawrence, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi.
Wingers: Elliot Daly, Max Malins, Jonny May.
Rears: Henry Arundell, Freddie Steward.
The probable composition
If Owen Farrell is in this typical team, he will therefore not start the World Cup and will be replaced by the talented Marcus Smith. For the rest, it is not impossible for the coach to make many changes during the World Cup given the low level of his team.
Player to watch: Marcus Smith
The Harlequin fly half is a real meteorite. Arrived in the first team at just 18 years old, the native of the Philippines continues to cross levels in his young career. His boldness, his sudden changes of direction and his speed even made him take the place of legend Owen Farrell, relegated to the center. His precision in the face of the poles however fails during certain matches, especially those where the tension is intense. He will have to learn to manage that for his first World Cup. But the kid learns quickly, very quickly.