England, France, Argentina, USA, Tonga
In 2015, Eddie Jones was hired to do one thing. Win a World Cup, write Rhodri Morgan, Alice Reeves-Turner, Matthew Banks and Tom Holmes.
Two successive victorious Six Nations campaigns (including a Grand Slam) offered tangible hope that this goal could be achieved. But the last two years have seen a noticeable absence of silverware and increased tensions in a team stacked full of stars.
Two big warm-up victories over Italy and Ireland will have restored some faith in Eddie Jones’ and captain Owen Farrell’s leadership, but this will need to be proved over the coming weeks as they face the consensus ‘group of death’.
The French travel to Japan with a lot to prove, having suffered a humiliating 62-13 defeat to New Zealand in the last World Cup, as well as a string of poor Six Nations performances – including a 44-8 loss to England. If France are to win their first World Cup – or even get out the group – they’ll need experienced heads like Louis Picamoles to take a leading role; with seven players under 25 with less than 10 caps in their squad.
England fans will remember their close shave with Los Pumas in RWC 2011 and, as semi-finalists in the last tournament, they’ve proved that they’re always capable of causing an upset.
Mario Ledesma, one of the country’s most decorated forwards now turned head coach, has a difficult task ahead; creativity is where Argentina do their best work and they’re capable of producing devastating attacking rugby – but only when discipline and defensive cohesion is maintained.
The U.S.A. take arguably their strongest ever team to take part in the 2019 World Cup in Japan, with
the team currently seated 14th in the world (who could forget that 30-29 win over Scotland last year?) and are led by the former Cardiff Blues fly half, Blaine Scully. However, considering the standard of opposition in the group stage, it’s hard to see the Eagles advancing.
The World Cup’s smallest nation are coming off a crushing 92–7 defeat to the All Blacks on September 7 and aren’t expected to trouble the top seeds. As always, they will be a fun side to watch; bringing speed, physicality and some exciting attacking talent, including Leicester full-back Telusa Veainu. A win against the USA is priority #1, with anything else a bonus.
Surprise package: Argentina
Whipping boys: USA
- 10000New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Canada, Namibia New Zealand:New Zealand have won the last two World Cups and are favourites to make it three in a row in Japan, write Alasdair McDowell, Ahmed Shooble, Mark Stillman and Samuel Draper. Steve Hansen’s side start their defence on Saturday with their toughest…
- 10000By Harry Jones, Alex Jennings, Jordan Camp and Sammy MngqosiniSeptember 18 2019, 14.45Follow @SW_Londoner Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Samoa, Russia As hosts of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan will open the tournament against Russia on Friday. The group also consists of two home nation sides in Scotland and Ireland, with…
- 10000Women in south west London are being encouraged to release their inner warrior and try contact rugby for free. A series of Warrior Camps taking place throughout September will introduce women to a new sport as part of England Rugby’s ‘Inner Warrior’ campaign. Trainee veterinary nurse Kimberley Bennett, 30, took part in…
- 10000When John Alloway discovered the opportunity to break a world record while raising money for a rugby charity, the Chiswick-based rugby lover jumped at the chance to get involved. The 25-year-old financial analyst was among the group of 23 players who took part in charity Wooden Spoon’s third Guinness World…
- Chiswick's LDN 7s rugby festival doubles in size with star DJs, charity events and serious competition10000London's only full weekend rugby and music festival took place in Chiswick over the bank holiday, with more than 250 players taking part. The LDN 7s festival, in its second year at Chiswick Rugby and Football Club, encourages teams from all over the country to compete, with tournaments organised in rugby…