In co-ordination with our Australia friends over at Green & Gold Rugby backing their own nation’s World Cup chances, here are the five reasons why England will triumph. No rumour, just fact.
1. The Monstrous Scrum
In 2003, the Australian Press thought calling England’s pack a group of “white orcs on steroids” was an insult. One in particular had so much fun in 2003, he’s back again; the robust, but never athletic, Steve Thompson. Alongside him are Andrew “no neck, but an album on iTunes” Sheridan, and Dan “aged 23 but looks 32” Cole (right). These boys will give opposition packs nightmares. In fact, I can hear Ben Alexander whimpering from here.
2. The Nous
In 2007 with an ancient side featuring Andy Farrell, yes Andy Farrell, at number 10 during the group stages, England still managed to make the final. That team should have got nowhere near that far into the tournament, but grafted and bullied their way past first Australia, and then France (thanks Traille), before losing to a combination of Bok boot and Stuart Dickinson being momentarily blinded in the TMO box. It was their third final in six tournaments, one of the best records around. All in all, England know how to play at World Cups.
“Jonny Wilkinson was put onto this planet to win World Cups.” – Mike Catt, August 2011.
For further proof, there’s this:
4. The Route to the Final
Let’s face it, England’s draw is blessed. Argentina are nowhere near the class of 2007. There’s no Pichot, Hernández, Borges, Corleto; and therefore no attack. As for Scotland, well they could prove tricky. But, Calcutta Cup history reads: England 64 wins, Scotland 39 wins, 15 draws. The odds favour St. George.
Into the knock out stages, where France will characteristically crumble from a lack of nerve because they will have played so well, and then Australia, to whom you merely need to whisper the locations Cape Town, Sydney or Marseille and they will be distracted enough to win. Then there’s the final. Anyone can win the World Cup final…
5. Wet? Windy? 10 man rugby? Perfect.
Fact – England are dull. Forget the talk of Ben Foden and Chris Ashton, when the rain falls, and this is New Zealand, England will dominate with their dullness. These conditions get Johnno purring, and with one of the best scrums, line outs and defences around, will play into their favour. Oh, and Jonny. Did I mention him?
Here are the other countries representatives, and why they think they can win the William Webb Ellis Cup:
by Ben Coles