Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

A startling World Cup stat has Borthwick believing in blunt England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick has delved into England Rugby World Cup history to illustrate how a team with limited try-scoring prowess can still massively achieve at the finals. Since taking the reins from Eddie Jones last December, Borthwick’s English side have been regularly criticised for its inability to score tries.

ADVERTISEMENT

Coming in France 2023, England had scored just eight tries in six matches – just one in each of their successive outings versus France, Ireland, Wales (twice) and Ireland again before they finished their Summer Nations Series with three tries in their defeat to Fiji.

This lack of creativity in crossing the whitewash more frequently extended into last weekend when their 27-10 opening-round victory at the World Cup came minus a try as all the points originated from the boot of George Ford via six penalty kicks and three drop goals.

Video Spacer

Rugbypass TV

Watch rugby on demand, from exclusive shows and documentaries to extended highlights from RWC 2023. Anywhere. Anytime. All for free!

Join us

Video Spacer

Rugbypass TV

Watch rugby on demand, from exclusive shows and documentaries to extended highlights from RWC 2023. Anywhere. Anytime. All for free!

Join us

Despite the issue of four red cards in six matches understandably restricting England’s ability to create, the dearth of tries has still generated much commentary about the general bluntness of the Borthwick attack heading into his team’s next World Cup outing, this Sunday night’s clash with Japan in Nice.

However, the head coach has now countered this criticism of his team’s try-scoring record with an incredible statistic from England’s most successful period at consecutive finals.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

3
Wins
2
1
Streak
1
13
Tries Scored
15
-5
Points Difference
-19
2/5
First Try
1/5
2/5
First Points
1/5
1/5
Race To 10 Points
2/5

England won the tournament in 2003 and they then went on to reach the 2007 final, history that was referenced in the lead-up to this weekend’s game with Borthwick emphasising a startling statistic about those two past campaigns.

“As I look at all the underlying factors around our game, do I see progress and do I have the evidence of progress? Absolutely. Did we get across the try line last week? No, we didn’t. Do I feel that the team played last week in the manner that was required? Yes, YES. I feel that the overall game is developing.

ADVERTISEMENT

“As I am sure you are well aware, the most successful back-to-back World Cups England have had were ’03 and ’07, won it and reached the final next time. Eight tier-one Tests and how many tries in the eight games? Four.

“So you get to this level, games are tight. Players have got to find a way to get an advantage one way or another and these players did an incredible job last week in finding an advantage (against Argentina).

“These guys are big players who rise to the biggest of occasions and I anticipate and expect that these players will find another way on Sunday and will rise again to the big occasion.”

Borthwick was spot-on with his grasp of history. In the title-winning 2003 campaign in Australia, England scored just three tries in their four matches versus tier-one opposition:

  • South Africa (25-6 pool win) – One try from Will Greenwood;
  • Wales (28-17 quarter-final win) – One try from Greenwood;
  • France (24-7 semi-final win) – No England try scored;
  • Australia (2-17 final win after extra time) – One try from Jason Robinson.

Four years later in their four games against tier-one opposition in France, England scored just a single try:

  • South Africa (0-36 pool loss) – No England try scored;
  • Australia (12-10 quarter-final win) – No England try scored;
  • France (14-9 semi-final win) – One try from Josh Lewsey;
  • South Africa (6-15 final loss) – No England try scored.
ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

TRENDING
TRENDING Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss
Search