The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan, and after their amazing feat in beating South Africa, the popularity of that event is likely to rise.
Whilst England, as the home nation, have been hyped up as a big contender this year for the title, I think a lot of fans will agree that it is 2019 that perhaps England should focus on more seriously, with such a young squad available.
England have young, talented players coming out of their ears. Some are exaggerated, while other have serious, world-class potential. Maro Itoje was in the 50-man squad for the World Cup and I think this was a great decision by Stuart Lancaster. It gave some of the young players the chance to prepare them for life on the international stage.
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Itoje has already been singled out as a potential captain, having captained the U-20s to victory in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship.
Itoje has shown serious power in the breakdown and is a dangerous ball carrier with the potential to star in England’s 2019 campaign.
An Electric Midfield
Two players who I thought both should have been taken to the RWC, but only one succeeded, were Elliot Daly and Henry Slade. The pair are both 22 and both offer great attacking options for England in the future.
Slade is the definition of a utility back, playing all across the midfield, and possesses great creative prowess that would be ideal for releasing Daly’s quick footwork which he perfectly balances with an armoury of offloads and tactical kicks.
But Daly has demonstrated he has a powerful ability to run the ball (Check out his try vs Northampton in the 2012/13 season) which only adds to his game. These two, should Slade not steal the number ten jersey, could form a very dangerous centre partnership.
Ben and Billy to get a Pacific Challenge
One player who you could argue as an ‘out-there’ choice could be Nathan Hughes of London Wasps. If you follow the Premiership you will know that Hughes is one of the best number eights there, playing a very southern hemisphere game.
The man is from Fiji, and could play for one of Fiji, Samoa or New Zealand. All this, possibly explains his physical presence and his style of play. But in June 2016, he qualifies for England. This could change everything for selectors.
Whilst Billy Vunipola is still young, as is Morgan relatively, both have peaked and dropped in form this year whether through injury or otherwise. The battle for number 8 at 2019 could be made the main selection intrigue, should Hughes be seriously considered and, when you look at what he is achieving now, I believe he really should be.
Surely Not? Well…
Now for the wild card. Having split opinion ever since leaving the Rabbitohs, Sam Burgess undoubtedly has the potential to succeed. Personally, I think 2015 came too early, despite showing glimpses of why perhaps Lancaster took him.
But when you look at his frame, standing at 6'5", weighing near 18-and-a-half stone, the man is a giant. Slammin’ Sam is not only huge, but he possesses abilities you would expect from a dainty outside centre.
He has a great offload ability, multiple times in the NRL, he was seen shipping the ball out of situations no one could expect him to complete. The man, on paper, is the ideal number 12. But can he do it all in union? Only time will tell.
There has been talk of moving him to flanker, but this will require much longer to adapt to, of course, as a forwards job is a lot more technical, but it would leave him less exposed in the midfield position wise. But IF he stays in union, and that’s a big if, then in 4 years he could accumulate the skills and experience necessary to maybe unleash his league skill set on the international stage at 2019.