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How England could look at the 2027 World Cup

By Josh Raisey
Ollie Chessum, Freddie Steward and George Martin of England sing their national anthem prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and South Africa at Stade de France on October 21, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

And with that semi-final performance against South Africa, there is suddenly renewed hope with English rugby. Plenty of England’s next generation came of age in the narrow loss to the reigning world champions at the Stade de France, painting a completely different picture for Steve Borthwick moving forward.

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George Martin, Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell and Freddie Steward are just some of the names who will not only still be in their 20s next World Cup, but all had terrific semi-finals, many of which putting in their best ever performances in a white jersey. At the same time, there were figures who will also not be with England in four years’ time, who will leave black holes in the starting XV that will be very hard to fill.

With that in mind, an England squad in 2027 will look quite different from what it looked like this year, but there is an established foundation of young stars that Borthwick can build his squad around and then sprinkle in players who are currently on the under-20 circuit.

Video Spacer

England coach Steve Borthwick explains why it is so tough to overcome the Springboks

Video Spacer

England coach Steve Borthwick explains why it is so tough to overcome the Springboks

Given the burgeoning back row resources that England look to have, a 6-2 split on the bench seems like a good option in England’s 23. With the arrival of Felix Jones from the South Africa coaching team, he may even be able to cajole Borthwick into an audacious 7-1 split. Even then, there are some brilliant back rows that miss out. Equally, there are some areas where England look like they might be quite thin on the ground, with the front row being the most alarming department, as it was at this World Cup.

This squad is heavily influenced by the events of the weekend and the recent World Cup, but in truth, some players who missed out on this World Cup, such as Zach Mercer, are surely destined to play a pivotal role in the England squad over the next four years.

England XV in 2027 (age at the start of the RWC) 
1. Bevan Rodd (27)
2. Theo Dan (26)
3. Will Stuart (31)
4. Maro Itoje (captain) (32)
5. Lewis Chessum (24)
6. George Martin (26)
7. Tom Curry (29)/Tom Pearson (27)
8. Ben Earl (29)
9. Alex Mitchell (30)
10. Marcus Smith (28)
11. Ollie Hassell-Collins (28)
12. Dan Kelly (26)
13. Ollie Lawrence (27)
14. Henry Arundell (24)
15. Freddie Steward (26)

Replacements
16. Jamie Blamire (29)
17. Ellis Genge (32)
18. Joe Heyes (28)
19. Ollie Chessum (27)
20. Chandler Cunningham-South (24)
21. Alfie Barbeary (26)/ Jack Willis (30)
22. Raffi Quirke (26)
23. Fin Smith (25)

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