Rugby Union

Wales are looking to crash England's World Cup party

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With the 2015 Rugby World Cup just months away, England are preparing to play host to the world's best. Teams from all over the globe will converge on the UK, but perhaps England arch-enemies - England's 'noisy neighbour' - Wales could pose the home-side the most threat.

Drawn in a pool alongside Wales, Australia and Fiji, England will have their work cut out even trying to reach the knockout phase. Only two teams can progress from the group, meaning the hard-work will come England's way thick and fast.

With all the pools drawn from seeds and non-seeds, England were drawn alongside fellow top seeds Australia. Then came Wales, Fiji and Uruguay. 

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Realistically Uruguay will cause no threat to England and are at the tournament to collect their hypothetical 'participation award'. There could however be more importance to England's fixture versus Uruguay than originally meets the eye - I will cover that later.

The remaining two sides however, pose as strong a threat as any in England search for world domination on home soil.

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Australia are an experienced nation with an abundance of talent and the ability to beat anyone on their day. The Wallabies will be an unpredictable, ruthless side that England will struggle to contain, however the hosts do have the ability within their squad to beat Australia.

By whatever margin, England know that a win against the 'motley crew from down under' stands them in good stead for qualification to the quarter finals.

Perhaps the biggest threat to England's RWC plight will be the men from the 'other side of the severn' - the roaring beast that is Wales. On familiar nearby turf, with their raucous, always louder than the opposition fans in their corner and ability throughout their squad, Wales could well prove to be 'too much' for England.

Semi Finalists in 2011, Wales know what it takes to beat England and the quality they possess throughout their squad from 1 to 15 is enough to strike fear into the heart of the 'red rose'.

England must do what they can to combat Wales' mixture of power, flair and efficiency whilst also scoring points themselves - a very tall ask for a team under 'home soil' pressure.

Furthermore, England could beat Wales and still miss out on qualification on points difference. Realistically, England could beat Australia, Australia beat Wales and Wales beat England. All three could then beat Fiji and Uruguay respectively, leaving the two teams that progress to be decided by points difference.

Thence, the games against Fiji and Uruguay, the latter in particular, could be vital opportunities to accumulate points and tries - an opportunity for England to put themselves above their counterparts on points difference. 

Mission Impossible? 

To say that the task is impossible for England is probably quite a hyperbolic statement however to describe England's upcoming plight as a 'mammoth task' is quite fair.

Stuart Lancaster's men will have their work cut out for them, however they have the ability to beat any team in the world when they are entirely 'switched on' and working as a communitive, well-oiled unit. 

Nevertheless, the stage is set but the story is yet to be told, will England fall at first-hurdle in pursuit of the gold?

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Rugby Union
Australia Rugby
England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Wales Rugby

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