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SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: England will still have to beat the big boys to win the 2023 World Cup

SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: England will still have to beat the big boys to win the 2023 World Cup after kind pool draw… they need to build their strongest-ever squad

  • England managed to avoid a pool of death in their 2023 World Cup draw 
  • They will still have to beat two of France, New Zealand and South Africa 
  • Eddie Jones’ side need to concentrate on building their strongest-ever squad 

On paper it’s a good World Cup draw for England — certainly no Pool of Death for fans, media or players to stress about — but in many ways it makes absolutely no difference.

To win a World Cup you need to beat the best teams on the planet and the draw just decides the route you will navigate to achieve that.

Regardless of Tuesday’s draw, to win the 2023 World Cup England will still almost certainly have to beat two out of France, New Zealand and South Africa on the final two weekends, which is something that proved beyond them in Japan.

England have been given a good World Cup draw on paper after avoiding a Pool of Death

England will still likely have to beat two out of France, New Zealand and South Africa in 2023

England will still likely have to beat two out of France, New Zealand and South Africa in 2023

On that occasion they ripped it up in the semi-final against New Zealand but underperformed woefully in the final itself.

Producing back-to-back, world-class performances right at the end of a World Cup — possibly against massively different opponents and styles — is still England’s major challenge.

Avoiding those three world-class sides until the semi-finals would seem a positive outcome. But, as ever, it all depends on how you come out of the pool and the quarter-final, how you deal with injuries, your conditioning and your strength in depth.

In their pool, England should assume that the Pumas will continue their recent bounce-back. Prepare for the Argentina we saw at the 2007 and 2015 World Cups, not the lesser outfits we saw in 2011 and 2019.

Producing back-to-back, world-class performances right at the end of a World Cup is still England’s major challenge

England should also assume that Japan will not let their standards slip and will pose a genuine threat. Having said all that, there really should be no reason England do not top their pool.

Quarter-finals are huge events in their own right, with the knock-out element playing on the nerves. Handling that sudden switch in tempo and intensity is often key.

You would think either Australia or Wales await England in the last eight with just a slim chance Fiji might make an appearance.

It’s all speculation at this stage, of course, and although we can all enjoy that for a day or two, World Cup thoughts need to go on the back-burner for a good while yet. England need to concentrate on their rugby and build their strongest-ever squad.

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