Head coach: Eddie Jones

Captain: Owen Farrell (73 caps)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Rugby World Cup Winners (2003)

Key competitor: Billy Vunipol. For some moment now, the No 8 has been totally crucial to England and its achievement. The Saracen is a flying bullet, and when coupled with his sister Mako, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, and Manu Tuilagi in the assault, there are very few players in the globe that will be prepared to survive with England’s power-based crash match.

Current shape: after a horrible 2018, England has rightly entered the World Cup as one of the favorites due to their achievements over the last eight months or so. Beating Ireland home in Dublin in February was a benchmark, and England was totally phenomenal that day. Since then, Wales has defeated England two times in Cardiff, but, exclusion from those two matches, the standard of England’s shows and the size of their team leaves them big-time competitors for sure.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Mark Wilson.

Backs (14): Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (c), George Ford, Piers Francis, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

Fixtures:

  • England vs Tonga, Sunday September 22
  • England vs USA, Thursday September 26
  • England vs Argentina, Saturday October 5
  • England vs France, Saturday October 12

 

France

Head coach: Jacques Brunel

Captain: Guilhem Guirado (70 Tests)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Rugby World Cup runners-up (1987, 1999, 2011)

Key competitor: Antoine Dupont. For so soon running nowhere under Brunel, it was a treasure of value youngsters taken in from Toulouse that gave hope to the lovers of France. Top of the roster is scrum-half Dupont, who’s a Rolls Royce driver. Wonderful racing and playing match, he’s as smooth as they’re coming. Keep him healthy and be in a position to boss an enormous bag around the zoo, and France has an opportunity.

Current shape: in three World Cup warm-ups, France brought Scotland and Italy to the sword in Nice and Paris, respectively-a especially remarkable achievement against the Scottish-but in between was a rather gentle failure to Scotland at Murrayfield. The 2019 Six Nations demonstrated to be an unmitigated catastrophe, with failures for all but Italy, while the past November saw the loss at home in South Africa and Fiji.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Jefferson Poirot, Rabah Slimani, Demba Bamba, Emerick Setiano, Cyril Baille, Guilhem Guirado (c), Camille Chat, Peato Mauvaka, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Paul Gabrillagues, Arthur Iturria, Bernard Le Roux, Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Louis Picamoles, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret.

Backs (14): Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Maxime Machenaud, Camille Lopez, Romain Ntamack, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Sofiane Guitoune, Virimi Vakatawa, Yoann Huget, Alivereti Raka, Damian Penaud, Maxime Medard, Thomas Ramos.

Fixtures:

  • France vs Argentina, Saturday September 21
  • France vs USA, Wednesday October 2
  • France vs Tonga, Sunday October 6
  • England vs France, Saturday October 12

 

Argentina

Head coach: Mario Ledesma

Captain: Pablo Matera (62 Tests)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Semi-finals (2007, 2015) – Third place in 2007

The key competitor: Pablo Matera. Matera, having taken the captainship over from the hooker Agustin Creevy, is a man in the spotlight, but also a flanker who is in the conversation for the XV world at this moment, that is his form. Matera is a sensational athlete, and he’s going to try to direct the usual Argentine enthusiastic team to more World Cup fun.

Current form: In the reduced 2019 Rugby Championship, Argentina lost all three games, while they also lost a further Test in South Africa in August. But there is a sense with the Pumas that they are almost always building to peak for the World Cup. Two semi-finals from the last three is not to be sniffed at. Can they catch England or France cold at this one?

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (17): Nahuel Tetaz Chapparo, Mayco Vivas, Agustin Creevy, Julian Montoya, Santiago Socino, Juan Figallo, Santiago Medrano, Enrique Pieretto, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera (c), Tomas Lezana, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni, Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

Backs (14): Tomas Cubelli, Felipe Ezcurra, Nicolas Sanchez, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Matias Orlando, Matias Moroni, Lucan Mensa, Juan Cruz Mallia, Ramiro Moyano, Bautista Delguy, Emiliano Boffelli, Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Carreras.

Fixtures:

  • France vs Argentina, Saturday September 21
  • Argentina vs Tonga, Saturday September 28
  • England vs Argentina, Saturday October 5
  • Argentina vs USA, Wednesday October 9

 

Tonga

Head coach: Toutai Kefu

Captain: Siale Piutau (39 Tests)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (1987, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

Key competitor: Sonatane Takulu. The Newcastle Falcons scrum-half will be essential to keep Tonga’s tempo up, while he’s also the goal-kick of his nation, and so he’s going to have hefty quantity of accountability in Japan.

Current shape: Fresh from transport 92 points to New Zealand on 7 September, Tonga was also well defeated by Samoa, Japan, and Fiji in 2019. Very ominous indications of this.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): Siegfried Fisiihoi, Vunipola Fifita, Latu Talakai, Paula Ngauamo, Sosefo Sakalia, Siua Maile, Siua Halanukonuka, Ma’afu Fia, Ben Tameifuna, Sam Lousi, Leva Fifita, Sitiveni Mafi, Sione Kalamafoni, Maama Vaipulu, Fotu Lokotui, Zane Kapeli, Dan Faleafa, Nasi Manu.

Backs (13): Sonatane Takulua, Leon Fukofuka, Samisoni Fisilau, Kurt Morath, James Faiva, Siale Piutau (c), Malietoa Hingano, Nafi Tuitavake, Atieli Pakalani, David Halaifonua, Viliami Lolohea, Cooper Vuna, Telusa Veainu.

Fixtures:

  • England vs Tonga, Sunday September 22
  • Argentina vs Tonga, Saturday September 28
  • France vs Tonga, Sunday October 6
  • USA vs Tonga, Sunday October 13

 

USA

Head coach: Gary Gold

Captain: Blaine Scully (50 Tests)

Previous Rugby World Cup best: Pool stage (1987, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015)

Key competitor: Joe Taufete. The highly powerful Worcester hooker very rarely seems to have poor match and has useful practice of showing up with attempts (20 in 22 tests to be accurate). Saracens prop Titi Lamositele is another one to watch out for, with the US front row very powerful on on paper, but as we know the game is not played on paper.

Current shape: In 2019, the USA beat the likes of Canada (three occasions) and Samoa, but it also endured losses in Japan and Uruguay. They’re probable to discover wins that are very difficult to get in this tank, and they’re most probably attacking Tonga’s to get win.

31-man World Cup squad:

Forwards (18): David Ainu’u, Malon Al-Jiboori, Nate Brakeley, Nick Civetta, Cam Dolan, Dylan Fawsitt, Eric Fry, Hanco Germishuys, James Hilterbrand, Olive Kilifi, Tony Lamborn, Titi Lamositele, Ben Landry, Paul Mullen, Gregor Peterson, Ben Pinkelman, John Quill, Joe Taufeteʻe.

Backs (13): Blaine Scully (c), Nate Augspurger, Marcel Brache, Bryce Campbell, Shaun Davies, Ruben De Haas, Will Hooley, Martin Iosefo, Paul Lasike, AJ MacGinty, Will Magie, Thretton Palamo, Mike Teao

Fixtures:

  • England vs USA, Thursday September 26
  • France vs USA, Wednesday October 2
  • Argentina vs USA, Wednesday October 9
  • USA vs Tonga, Sunday October 13

 

Predictions

1) England

2) France

3) Argentina

4) USA

5) Tonga