Matt Dawson column: England join All Blacks and South Africa in Rugby World Cup top tier

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Shortly before 11:00 BST on Saturday we will have the responses.
The identity of the skipper under the William Webb Ellis trophy and cloud of tickertape .
The destinations of the flights which have headed home with haste from Japan.
The guys who have become the sport’s new faces to its sporting mainstream.
However, for the time being, with less than 48 hours before Russia and Japan meet in the tournament match, the Rugby World Cup is posing questions.
Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson is currently calling them at the first of his BBC Sport columns.
The nearer we get to the tournament, the longer I elaborate England. They’re in a trio of contenders with South Africa and New Zealand.
They have a fantastic squad with terrific strength in depth across every place. What’s particularly striking is their raft of heavy duty ball-carriers that will get them across the gainline and provide them a foothold in almost any game.
Maro Itoje, kyle Sinckler, George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Manu Tuilagi along with the power of Joe Cokanasiga can set up wave after wave of assault.
The matter will come when they come up against a team that induce them to alter strategy or can match them.
Are their key leaders – half-backs and also the amount eight – able change direction and completely to huddle together?
We have observed this England side struggle close out the game or to place the resistance away.
Scotland almost conquer England down in March. Wales came back from seven points down in half-time to triumph in February. New Zealand did the same in 15 points back.
When they are supposed to go all of the way they will have to be clinical in large games.
Ireland come in the tournament as the best team on the planet at the ranks, but together with the chance of South Africa or New Zealand I still do not think that they will create the semi-finals.
They had been enjoying soccer between a year and 18 months ago, driven in a large part fly-half Jonny Sexton, scrum-half Conor Murray along with by hooker Rory Best.
These three aren’t now firing on all cylinders as well as their set-piece is wobbling . Secure ball from line-out or scrum is for setting the base of the way you need to play very important .
They’ll escape their team and perhaps the knock-out stage big-game pedigree European competition will raise them has been demonstrated in by the states , but they are not in my first three or four sides to win the championship.
Scotland, who discuss their team will enhance their chances of beating against Ireland about the coming weekend and also topping Pool A.
They’ll feel they have a pack that is cell, demanding pairing, an ingenious and a lot of experience upsetting the odds.
Whether that’s enough to get them any further than the last eight though…
Wales are fascinating.
Their issue will be around their strength in detail.
For one-off games, where everybody is fit, they are going to challenge anyone.
They have a clutch of players – Jonathan Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Liam Williams – who are sensational and a back row that, in their day, may be physical as anybody.
They have among the training set-ups around with Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards.
I worked with them and there are none better in tailoring a gameplan that was specific to beat a particular opposition. They are adept at doing this quickly too, which can be useful in championship rugby.
One of the challenges will be shielding their starting line-up by means of a pool campaign. They have full-bore Tests against Australia and Fiji, which they will be desperate to acquire to get a greater quarter-final draw.
They certainly do not have a Dan Carter and Richie McCaw however they have experience of winning a system of playing, this championship along with a culture that’s among the best on earth.
They have lost several matches lately, but their reply against Tonga and Australia in their last few games suggested they’re locked into World Cup mode.
When I had to select 1 team to win it, then they’d still be my selection. They’ve a mixture of firepower, strength in experience and depth that’s a mix.
After Allister Coetzee abandoned his post in February 2018they had won just 11 of their 25 Tests and slipped to sixth in the world ranks.
However, Rassie Erasmus has come and shaken that the politics up around the team, refocusing on winning and getting rid of the ban of players.
He retired as a player and has coached ever since, and I think he retains that empathy with the dressing room.
The manner of game which Erasmus instilled at Munster matches with the Southern African psyche – expansive when it must be but with an border that is attritional.
Faf de Klerk is a superbly occupied, scrum-half that is incisive, however his unique style of play will lead targeting him during this tournament. He has tendencies that he reproduces.
Their novelty has been part of what’s made him effective so much, but there’ll be back rows studying the tapes and laying some cubes for him. It could be a championship for him.
If Erasmus keep a lid can help him through and build momentum throughout the effort, they will take a while quitting.
Following the disappointing campaign in 2015 of England, this may be the World Cup at which fly-half Owen Farrell grabs his opportunity to show himself as a star.
Cokanasiga may be a whole superstar for England if he gets a opportunity.
Richie Mo’unga has made five starts for the All Blacks, but seems set to begin in fly-half for the defending champions. My former half-back partner and fellow 5 Live analyst Paul Grayson charges him really highly. He’s got individual abilities, vision that is great and better kicking at stats than Beauden Barrett that is team-mate and he is an unselfish team player also.
New Zealand have a habit of uncovering a wing before string or a championship.
Nehe Milner-Skudder lit the 2015 World Cup up, Sitiveni Sivivatu was excellent at the series win over the Lions Joe Rokocoko left his debut only four weeks.
Sevu Reece and George Bridge are equally wings who might be prepared to do something like this.
In all honesty, I really don’t find a downside. I believe it’s a great choice.
The matches aren’t in prime days for a number of the television markets, however they’re now breakfast and brunch time in Europe and people’s schedules will match around it nice.
You can see the enthusiasm. Fifteen thousand people turned out to see Wales train along with a high proportion of the tickets have been sold. It’s been adopted by the host country and the possibility of going somewhere new.
If anything I think that the plan of accepting the tournament to attempt to break new ground for the sport will be replicated.
The United States has to be on World Rugby’s success record. Maybe a South {tournament|champion

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