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Rugby World Cup 2023 – England National Rugby Union Team

The England national rugby union team are just one of four nations to have had a previous taste of World Cup success. In 2003, a famous drop goal by Wilkinson secured England their first and, as it stands, only World Cup crown, with victory over Australia.

England has a rich rugby history, with the sport’s origins spreading across the globe from the country, and England’s home of Twickenham is one of the most recognisable rugby stadiums in the world.

Benefiting from being able to select from a vast pool of players, England often adopt a style based on forward power and a solid kicking game. We look at the history of the England national rugby union team, their current squad and their upcoming matches in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

World Cup Fixtures

England, runners-up at the last Rugby World Cup in 2019, have been drawn in Pool D this time, where they will face Argentina, Japan, Chile and Samoa. They are expected to top the pool, setting them up with a quarter-final clash against the Pool C runner-up, likely Wales or Australia.

Below is the full schedule of England’s matches in Pool D and where they’ll take place:

  • September 9 – England v Argentina (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
  • September 17 – England v Japan (Stade de Nice, Nice)
  • September 23 – England v Chile (Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
  • October 7 – England v Samoa (Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
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Odds are subject to change. Last updated February 26, 2024 9:37 pm.

World Cup Performance

England National Rugby Union Team History

england national rugby union team

England is credited as being the birthplace of the sport. In 1871, the England international team played their first match, the world’s first international rugby fixture, losing to their rivals Scotland.

They faced Wales and Ireland for the first time shortly after, and then in 1905, after a burst of worldwide expansion in the game, England played their first-ever match against New Zealand.

Participating annually in the Six Nations, England maintains huge rivalries against Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France. But they also have a strong sporting rivalry against Australia, with the first match between the two nations happening in 1909, the year Twickenham Stadium opened.

England have featured in every Rugby World Cup to date and have hosted the tournament twice. The first occasion was in 1991, with shared hosting duties alongside France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. England reached the final but lost 12-6 to Australia.

And 2015 saw England have high expectations as sole hosts, but they disappointed by exiting at the pool stages.

In the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final, arguably the greatest England team of all time, led by Martin Johnson, beat Australia 20-17 after extra time in Sydney. Fly Half Jonny Wilkinson, England’s all-time leading points-scorer, landed the match-winning drop-kick in the final minute of extra time.

England made it to the 2019 final as well. After beating New Zealand convincingly in the semi-finals, they were favourites against South Africa. But England froze under the relentless pressure from the Springboks and lost 32-12 in Yokohama.

Being in a transition period of rebuilding with new head coach Steve Borthwick only installed at the start of the year, England head to the 2023 Rugby World Cup as more of an outsider than a leading contender.

England National Team Rugby World Cup

England Rugby Players

England had a disappointing 2023 Six Nations campaign, their primary competitive warm-up ahead of September’s World Cup. However, they will have fixtures ahead of the tournament against Wales and Fiji in August.

The bulk of England’s players come from the English Premiership, with a recent exception made for former Wasps and Worcester players, as their clubs went into administration in 2023.

Here is a look at the England squad that will likely be selected for their warm-up matches in August, which will be close to their final World Cup squad.

Forwards

Hooker – Jamie George

Hooker – Luke Cowan-Dickie

Hooker – Nic Dolly

Tighthead prop – Kyle Sinckler

Tighthead prop – Will Stuart

Tighthead prop – Joe Heyes

Loosehead prop – Ellis Genge

Loosehead prop – Bevan Rodd

Lock – Maro Itoje

Lock – Jonny Hill

Lock – Charlie Ewels

Lock – Nick Isiekwe

Lock – Ollie Chessum

Flanker – Courtney Lawes (c)

Flanker – Tom Curry

Flanker – Sam Underhill

Flanker – Lewis Ludlam

Flanker – Jack Willis

Number 8 – Billy Vunipola

Number 8 – Jack van Poortvliet

Backs

Scrum-half – Ben Youngs

Scrum-half – Harry Randall

Fly half – Marcus Smith

Fly half – Owen Farrell

Centre – Joe Marchant

Centre – Elliot Daly

Centre – Joe Cokanasiga

Centre – Manu Tuilagi

Centre – Fraser Dingwall

Wing – Jack Nowell

Wing – Jonny May

Wing – Henry Arundell

Fullback – Freddie Steward

Fullback – Max Malins

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