Category: Rugby World Cup 2015


England’s 30-3 loss to Wales at the Six Nations was a savage and dizzying one. As the worst ever defeat to their near neighbours, it left many pondering what is missing with this England team.

Hammering | England head coach Stuart Lancaster and his dejected players walk off after the defeat to Wales. (Image | The Sun)

Hammering | England head coach Stuart Lancaster and his players walk off dejectedly after the defeat to Wales. (Image | The Sun)

Perhaps the answer is not that difficult, and the key ingredient is nothing more than a bit of swagger.

We should remember where the England rugby union team were when Stuart Lancaster took over as head coach.

The squad were in disarray, coming off a dismal showing at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and damaged further by embarrassing revelations about the rot that had set in.

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The draw, made in London on Monday, effectively marks the beginning of the rugby world's qualification cycle (Image | Getty)

The draw, made in London on Monday, effectively marks the beginning of the rugby world’s qualification cycle. (Image | Getty)

On Monday afternoon in London, the world’s rugby union representatives met to distribute 20 teams across the four groups that will form the first round of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The draw was somewhat kind on Scotland, who drew arguably the weakest side in Band 2, while hosts England will face defeated 2011 finalists Australia and Wales in their group. Each group features three of rugby’s 12 ‘Tier 1’ sides, who are guaranteed a place at the World Cup, and two spots available to qualifiers, who we have attempted to predict.

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The selection policy of John Steele, former CEO of the RFU, could be sorely tested by the “exceptional circumstances” stipulation. (Image | The Guardian)

It was in December 2010 that John Steele, then CEO of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), sent a letter to all England players describing a new selection policy. The RFU believed that the best route to World Cup success in 2015 was to develop players within the English club system, using the advantages and release privileges of the Elite Player Squad structure. As such, players who chose to take a contract with an overseas club would only be selected “in exceptional circumstances.”

A year and a half later and “exceptional circumstances” have become somewhat flexible.

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