England suffered a 30-22 defeat to Fiji in their last practice match before the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
Jason Robinson, who was part of England’s 2003 World Cup-winning squad, draws parallels between today’s England team and the 2007 squad. That team had a rocky start but ultimately made it to the World Cup final.
In 2007, England had a single warm-up win against Wales and faced a crushing 36-0 defeat to South Africa during the group stages. The recent loss to Fiji marked England’s third setback in their last four pre-tournament matches, just before the World Cup kicks off in France next week.
“We have the talent on board; it’s just a matter of cracking the code to get the wins,” declared Robinson, the 2003 World Cup champion. “It’s giving me déjà vu of 2007. We started off terribly in France back then.”
Robinson hung up his professional boots after a 15-6 defeat to South Africa in the 2007 final. Despite a shaky start, Brian Ashton’s 2007 squad pulled off a surprising win against Australia in the quarter-finals with a 12-10 scoreline, and a 14-9 triumph over the hosting French team in the semi-finals.
“It was almost like we tripped and fell into the quarter-finals. Then it hit us—either we find a way to win or we pack our bags. Luckily, we found a way,” reminisced Robinson in a conversation with Sport News Center.
Fast forward to 2019, England again reached the finals by delivering what Robinson describes as “the most phenomenal” performance he’s seen from an England squad, beating New Zealand 19-7 in Japan. Twelve of those players from the 2019 squad are gearing up for the 2023 World Cup in France.
“The game against the All Blacks in the 2019 semi-finals tops even the legendary 2003 squad in terms of performance,” Robinson added.
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Robinson retains faith in England’s capabilities, despite a recent run of five losses in their last six games. He believes all they lack is that “little extra something” to push them forward.
“We’re not able to amalgamate our skills into the style of rugby we should be playing at the moment,” Robinson elaborated. “What we need is to dig deep and find that catalyst to ignite us. The competition isn’t going to be a cakewalk.”
As they set their sights on the World Cup, England faces Argentina on September 9 in Marseille. They’re likely to meet either Wales, Australia, or Fiji in the quarter-finals, with Fiji being the only team currently ranked above England.
“We’re fortunate to be in a relatively more lenient group, so realistically, a semi-final berth should be within our grasp. But this is anyone’s game,” Robinson commented. “Teams like England, Wales, and Australia might be the dark horses in this race. Don’t count them out just yet.”
England’s opening match will see them play without their captain Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola, due to suspensions for high tackles. Farrell will also be absent for England’s second match against Japan. Robinson is worried that such incidents could cast a shadow over the sport’s most prestigious event in France.
“To wrap it up, a high tackle can change the dynamics of a match,” Robinson noted. “If you don’t play by the rules, you could end up short-handed and, honestly, you’re just setting yourself up for defeat.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Jason Robinson’s 2023 Rugby World Cup Predictions for England
What is the main point that Jason Robinson is making about the current England Rugby team?
Jason Robinson, a former World Cup winner, believes that despite a string of recent losses, the current England squad has the potential to do well in the 2023 Rugby World Cup. He sees similarities between this team and the 2007 England squad that made it to the finals despite a poor run initially.
Who is Jason Robinson?
Jason Robinson is a former professional rugby player who was part of England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup-winning team. He also played in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which ended up being his final professional game. Robinson is considered one of England’s rugby legends.
Why does Jason Robinson remain optimistic despite England’s recent poor performance?
Robinson remains optimistic because he sees the potential in the current squad. He believes that if they can find the “spark” they need to unite their individual talents, they have a strong chance of advancing far in the tournament.
What is Robinson’s concern regarding high tackles?
Robinson expresses concern that high tackles, particularly ones that result in suspensions like those of Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola, could overshadow the tournament and potentially result in losses for England.
Who is England facing in their opening World Cup game?
England will face Argentina in their opening match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, scheduled for September 9 in Marseille.
How many players from the 2019 World Cup squad are participating in the 2023 World Cup?
Twelve players from the starting XV who faced the All Blacks in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals are traveling to France for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
What other teams does Robinson think could be dark horses in the 2023 World Cup?
Robinson mentions that aside from England, teams like Wales and Australia might be the dark horses of the tournament and could cause some upsets along the way.
How can I stay updated on further insights into the Rugby World Cup?
You can subscribe to the Rugby Union Weekly podcast to stay updated on all the latest developments and insights into the Rugby World Cup.
There you go, a quick FAQ to help you decode what’s buzzing in the world of Rugby!
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