Rugby League World Cup Preview: England

Another day and another World Cup preview, this time on England. With a host of elite players and players coming off stellar seasons in the Super League, can the English side come together and get a few consecutive wins on the board to go deep into the World Cup finals?

Here’s the England squad:

Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Briscoe (Hull FC), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos), Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors), Rangi Chase (Salford Red Devils), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), James Graham (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Gareth Hock (Salford Red Devils), Michael McIllorum (Wigan Warriors), Lee Mossop (Wigan Warriors), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos), Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne Storm)

When you look at the English side, it is clear that they have talent galore. From the Australian-based players excelling in the NRL like Sam, George & Thomas Burgess, to James Graham or Gareth Widdop also enjoying stellar stints with their NRL sides, it is clear that on paper – at the very least – the English have a very potent and formidable side.

With previous World Cup results perhaps not going as well as their fans would have liked, there is now no better time for the English rugby league side to step up, come together and perform as is necessary, to make – at the very least – a solid charge into the World Cup finals.

One of the top four teams overall, making it to the semi-finals would be a given, though to do that, they’ll need a stellar performance from all their players which won’t be easy, given Australia – the favourites to win – are in their group, as well as Fiji and Ireland.

With the overall brilliance and good form of players like Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, James Roby, Kevin Sinfield and others, it will be the players of notoriety that have to step up and make themselves known, as well as performing on the biggest rugby league stage of them all.

For some NRL fans, they may take an interest in the English side, if only for the fact that some of their own players from their respective teams are playing for England – all of which are valuable additions to the side.

Overall, England have as good a team as the likes of Australia and New Zealand. With the side capable of making the top 4 and whilst doing so is easier said than done, one would expect that the English side has the tools, the experience and the versatility to do just that and potentially challenge for the title.

Here’s the best 17 I’d go with for England:

1. Sam Tomkins.
2. Josh Charnley
3. Tom Briscoe
4. Zak Hardaker
5. Ryan Hall
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Kevin Sinfield
8. James Graham
9. James Roby
10. Lee Mossop
11. Sean O’Loughlin
12. Gareth Hock
13. Sam Burgess

14. Ben Westwood
15. George Burgess
16. Rangi Chase
17. Liam Farrell

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