Yes – James Pascoe
Take one look at England’s spirited performance against New Zealand on Saturday and you will see that the 2015 World Cup hosts can compete with the very best.
It was always going to be a challenge to emulate last year’s historic victory, particularly as their match-winning centre partnership from that 38-21 win – injured pair Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt – were missing this weekend.
This was an England side far from full-strength, with Ben Youngs limited to a spot on the bench, and unable to make an impact in his arrival late in the game. In addition to that, the world-class capabilities and industry of the exceptional Tom Croft were also missed in the back-row.
The point is, if Lancaster plays the strongest line-up at his disposal, England are capable of beating – and they are one of – the best sides in the world.
They showed that last year as they thrashed the All Blacks, and were unlucky to lose to South Africa. This year, Lancaster’s side ran a New Zealand side, keen to avenge last year’s loss, close on Saturday. The squad is young.
They will improve. Come 2015, the world is England’s oyster. As hosts, they can triumph on the biggest stage of all, and with home advantage and a raucous English crowd, the side undoubtedly has the ability to succeed.
Only time will tell, but don’t rule England out. They can be world champions in 2015, provided they have a full squad.
No- Isaac Lister
No, England will not win the Rugby World Cup. The defeat to New Zealand, a close match though it may have been, highlighted exactly why the All Blacks have been a dominant force on the international stage for the last decade.
The decision making of the All Blacks in key moments and their ability to do the basics better than any other team proved too much for England in the end. They play in such a way that they are able to involve all of their elite talent in their play, whereas England struggle in the centres and on the wings to get their best players into the game.
England also do not have anyone of the quality of the superb Ma’a Nonu in the centres, and lest we forget his usual partner Conrad Smith, who isn’t even on this tour. England may have run NZ close in their latest encounter, but add Smith to Nonu and that combination is fearsome.
Nonu’s power may be matched in the England ranks by Manu Tuilagi, but Tuilagi lacks in the technical department- he is not as adept at kicking or offloading, and doesn’t have Nonu’s teamwork skills. Even if he did, England lack a partner for him.
The way the lineout fell apart for England at the end is another key example of why they won’t win the World Cup, this doesn’t happen to the All Blacks as they have the depth to deal with it whereas players like Tom Youngs are too inconsistent.
England are a work in progress, an exciting outfit, but they just don’t have the experience or consistency in big matches to win this World Cup.