20 years after winning the world crown in Australia, England is looking to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Several nations have the same idea, but can the English go all the way in France?
England Among the Favorites
Before the tournament began, England was among the favorites to lift the trophy. After a solid opening victory, Steve Borthwick’s men are still in the mix. Looking at the Rugby World Cup betting market, England is available at +900 to win the World Cup for the first time since 2003.
They got off to the perfect start in week one. Despite a poor build-up to the World Cup, England was excellent against Argentina in Marseille. It was a memorable day for George Ford, who scored all 27 of England’s points.
The English failed to score a single try, but Ford’s kicking was exemplary. The fly-half scored six penalties and three drop goals. The Argentinians scored a late try, but England, who had a player sent off early, fully deserved the big win.
Can the English Rekindle the Spirit of 2003?
Two decades have passed since England’s heroics Down Under at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The fifth edition of the competition was held in Australia, and the English beat the tournament host in a memorable final in Sydney.
England won four out of four in Pool C, edging out South Africa in the battle for top spot. In the knockout phase, Clive Woodward’s side beat fellow Home Nation Wales in the quarter-finals before a sensational 24-7 victory over France in the semi-finals.
The Aussies were waiting in Syndey, and over 80,000 fans at Sydney’s Stadium Australia were cheering on the host nation. The thrilling final went into extra time, and Jonny Wilkinson won it 28 seconds from time with a memorable drop goal. England held on for a 20-17 win in Sydney.
Runner-up in 2019
In the last World Cup in Japan, England was one win away from securing a second world championship title. They defied the odds to reach the final, topping Pool C before easing past Australia and New Zealand.
They were looking to see off South Africa in the final, but the Springboks were too strong at International Stadium Yokohama. The South Africans went on to win 32-12.
Although England’s preparations heading into this World Cup were not great, the superb win over the Argentinians in game one would have done them the world of good. Even though they did not score a try, there were plenty of positives to take in Marseille.
Some tough games are coming up before England can start dreaming about the knockout phase. Japan looked good in the opening game, while Samoa could be a tricky opponent.
England somewhat went under the radar before the French tournament, but the impressive win over Argentina has put them back on the map. Winning the World Cup will not be easy, but can Borthwick’s troops cause a few upsets on French soil and go all the way?