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Clive Woodward names his 2023 World Cup winner and explains why

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former England boss Clive Woodward has made his prediction for the 2023 World Cup, tipping France to ultimately lift the trophy on October 28 in Paris. Fabien Galthie’s side are currently rated second to Ireland in the World Rugby rankings, but the 2003 World Cup-winning coach believes home advantage will result in French glory in nine months’ time.


Writing in Sportmail during the recent holiday period, Woodward said: “I have to go with France, with the reason being that for me they are the No1 team in the world now even if the official rankings show Ireland to be in that position.

Being at home is a massive advantage. If this World Cup was taking place in New Zealand or South Africa, I wouldn’t be tipping France. I work a lot in France these days and I know from being there that the French public loves this team. This is a glorious time for French rugby. I can see them going one better than their football team and winning the World Cup.

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“Being at home is like having a 16th man. France will have incredible support. When you’re at home, 50/50 calls tend to go your way. If we had been playing at home as an England team in 2003 rather than in Australia, we would have won the final by 25 points. Home advantage is so important especially when you have a side with such quality.”

Referencing England, who now have Steve Borthwick in charge instead of Eddie Jones, Woodward is expecting the ex-Leicester boss to turn English rugby around from the low ebb it currently finds itself in following 2022 where only five of a dozen Test matches were won.

“We have got to move on from Jones now and quickly. He is gone. It’s like the old saying goes, the king is dead, long live the king. Jones’ staunchest allies in the RFU threw him under the bus to save their own necks. In the end, I just felt very sorry for Jones. He deserved better. He should have been removed with dignity three years ago rather than suffer a very public hanging.

“Looking at it through the eyes of England’s opposition, they would have been very happy if Jones had stayed in charge. A fresh start with the talent and experience England possess could and will be a frightening prospect.


“The more I think about Steve Borthwick, the more I think he can surprise people. He will put a strong team together. My advice to Borthwick is very simple – just go for it! Does he have the players? Absolutely. I really hope I don’t hear those dreadful words ‘starters’ and ‘finishers’ again!

“Select players in their right position. I want him to pick wings that run fast! I’m very excited for him to turn English rugby around both on and off the pitch from the low ebb we currently find ourselves in. He can absolutely do that.”


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Tim 256 days ago

Woodward speaking sense is a rare phenomena but I think he has a point France are currently the best side in the world

Len 383 days ago

I wish that Clive Woodward would get over his obsession with trying to present Eddie Kones in a bad light every opportunity he gets. Methinks it is a case of he knows Eddie is better at his worst than Woodward at his best. Go Eddie!

WorldWideWebbEllis 425 days ago

Home advantage could be massive for France, and I see why Sir Clive is going with this excellent team.

But a massive (and obvious caveat) is that the Southern Hemisphere teams usually peak around the WC.

England too - though not sure Borthwick will be able to turn the team around in time.

Also, France didn't look quite as imperious in the 6N. Who knows? Maybe they could become the second NH side to do it.

Donald 441 days ago

This is a hard cup to win would not dismiss South Africa All Blacks Ireland because you can bet with all the prestige winning this gives them they will all be up for it.

Euan 537 days ago

France will win - by fair means or foul.

Bert 538 days ago

I’m picking a France Ireland SA NZ battle. However England and Australia have the potential to fire at the time.
SA will lift - they have a lot of experience and hardness.
For NZ much will depend on whether the coach stops messing around with favorites.

Brent 538 days ago

While I agree with Sir CW on his thoughts on the French,I feel that any of the Southern hemisphere 4 teams,can play a big role in the WC.I don't understand the term "frightening prospect" when speaking about England rugby for the WC.Maybe for 2nd tier nations??!!

Miha 538 days ago

Be careful there's a serious threat coming from the deepest southern oceans silent and guessed it The All Blacks, The mighty mighty All Blacks....Don't say I didnt warn ewes. truth is the French are a year too early. 2023 is payback time for The French Special Operations "wee wee eat a frog and die"....sinking our only boat in the country "Rainbow Worrior"......back in the day. The we took up the Americas Cup challege and the rest is history......we coming to France to eat frogs.....

Snash 538 days ago

They struggled to put away 14 man Boks...

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