Despite their disappointing defeat against South Africa in the final, there is always a silver lining. Early next year, that could come in the shape of a potential Guinness Six Nations crown, potentially even via a Grand Slam.
That will be the next target for England as they try and build on the very strong foundations laid at the global tournament. To accentuate the positive, England have a formidable, dynamic pack with youngsters Tom Curry and Sam Underhill consistently earning huge praise for their performances in Japan, as well as prop Kyle Sinckler proving at the highest level that he can hold his temperament and be a key driving force in England’s forwards.
England to dominate in 2020?
One misfire in a final doesn’t suddenly mean that the whole house of cards needs to come tumbling down. There is a lot to look forward to from this current England set-up, still under the masterful guidance of head coach Eddie Jones. Jones deserves high praise for getting England to peak at the right time at Japan in 2019.
Another huge positive that England can take from forward their performances in Japan, was the defensive effort, masterminded by defence coach John Mitchell. Especially during the knockout phases, where England’s game plan was superb in repelling both Australia and New Zealand.
It’s difficult to see where England can take giant steps forward – the challenge will be maintaining this level of performance. They were on top during most of the tournament and looked like absolute world-beaters at times. They had belief, strength in depth on the bench and they delivered with their mentality and focus as well.
Photo by David Rogers / Getty Images
England’s upcoming challenges
England will be out on the road for their opening two games of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations, with big tests of character against both France and Scotland. They then return to the Home of England Rugby to host much-anticipated clashes against Ireland and Wales, before finishing with a trip to the Stadio Olimpico to face Italy.
Those first two games give England a great chance at early momentum and to show their strength of character, before they step into the pressure cauldron of handling high-expectancy at Twickenham Stadium against the Welsh and Irish.
It is the game against the All Blacks, who England beat so impressively in the semi-finals in Japan, that will be the jewel of those fixtures. It will be a chance for England to secure back-to-back wins over New Zealand for the first time since 2003. What a story there is waiting to be written if that were to happen on the back of a Guinness Six Nations title-winning year.
Photo by Odd Andersen / AFP
Fortress Twickenham key for England’s 2020
England have some massive encounters to come at Twickenham in 2020 in both the Guinness Six Nations and Quilter Internationals. That sows the seeds of potential for home soil bearing the fruit of a successful year. With Owen Farrell leading from the front, powerhouse Manu Tuiliagi growing in world-class stature, a flourishing trust in fly-half George Ford, young players like Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Lewis Ludlam and Jack Singleton waiting to breakthrough, England will head into the new calendar year fuelled by a missed-opportunity and a desire to dominate.
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