England must make the most of a favourable Rugby World Cup 2023 draw in 2023 as they limp into the tournament out of form, according to a trio of rugby legends.


Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Clive Woodward and Lawrence Dallaglio know a thing or two about going all the way in a Rugby World Cup and spoke to Radio Times magazine all about the upcoming competition.

RadioTimes.com has rounded up Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Clive Woodward and Lawrence Dallaglio's Rugby World Cup predictions for England ahead of the tournament.

Rugby World Cup 2023 predictions

Interview by Kate Battersby. First featured in Radio Times magazine.

What is England’s greatest strength?

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LD: This team’s current performances are so far away from winning a World Cup that others will underestimate them.

Who will be England’s pivotal player?

CW: Owen Farrell. He’s a good guy, plays a tough game. He’ll miss the first two fixtures [due to a four-match ban] but once he’s on the pitch and on form, he’s key.

Which players should we look out for from the other nations?

CW: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse) is even more important for France with Romain Ntamack out injured, while the Barrett brothers [Scott and Jordie] for the All Blacks will have a big part to play.

Which underdogs can spring a surprise?

JW: I always come to Scotland and Argentina at World Cups — and Scotland are clearly doing something right with their preparation. I also love Fiji; the Pacific Island nations can really turn it on.

CW: Everyone’s expecting Scotland not to come out of their pool with South Africa and Ireland, but they’re a pretty scary team now and I think they’ve got a big chance.

Who do you think can be the rising star of this World Cup?

JW: I watched New Zealand’s Mark Telea recently and he is someone I would hate to have to defend against. He can make something out of nothing.

CW: The Springboks’ Cheslin Kolbe. He’s going to be a big star.

Which player would you secretly want in the England team?

LD: France’s Antoine Dupont is the trump card. I’d like to be bossed around by him.

JW: Yes, he has such a feel for what is going on. He spends so much time scanning the field and makes everyone else feel good about themselves.

Who do you think will lift the trophy?

CW: If I was France coach Fabien Galthié, I’d be building this up to my players as the chance of a lifetime. But you can’t ignore the Southern Hemisphere teams, especially New Zealand, who are becoming quite special again.

JW: New Zealand looked like they weren’t on major form but recently have put themselves right back into the favourites category.

LD: New Zealand are always dangerous and are coming good at the right time. But the game is about big men, and those teams are France and South Africa.

One big hope for this World Cup?

LD: If it isn’t England, that we see a new name on the trophy. There’s a bit of a cartel that needs breaking up.

JW: With the recent stuff about physical safety and red cards, it’s important for the future of the game to showcase the immense beauty of rugby.

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