Former England international Lawrence Dallaglio has told William Hill’s podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan, that England can reach the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup after beating Argentina in their opening match.
Featuring on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, a podcast hosted by the former Crystal Palace owner who speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Dallaglio said: "My expectation is that England will qualify for the quarter-finals at least, and they could go on to beat any of Wales and Australia when they get there."
"Especially after Eddie Jones’ and Warren Gatland’s comments about them – England will have their own motivation, so they could end up finding themselves in a semi-final. They just needed that first win for people to realise, ‘hang on, England are in a World Cup here!’. I’ve limited my expectations for this World Cup generally, but there’s enough quality in that England team."
"The problem is that their appears to be this siege mentality within the current England setup, which is never good. They seem to think the public is against the England team, but it’s the complete opposite – we want them to do well. You can’t hide from the truth though – we’ve lost three out of four warm up games and we’ve arrived at the World Cup without our captain and our only number 8 in the squad."
History repeated itself with Jones
Dallaglio was then asked about former England head coach Eddie Jones’ fall from grace after reaching the World Cup final in 2019, and drew parallels with his tenure as Australia boss at the start of the century.
"When Eddie Jones was appointed, he was coaching in South Africa and had an amazing record,” he said. “Timing is everything with these kind of jobs, and his impact was instant. However, despite having success everywhere around the world, the end of his tenures look a little different."
"When I was working for BT Sport, I asked him why it went horribly wrong when he stayed on for another two years after reaching the 2003 World Cup Final with Australia, which they would have won if it wasn’t for Jonny Wilkinson. He said, ‘mate, I stayed too long. I won’t make that same mistake again.’ He did four years with England – the first three years were unbelievable, but then we get ourselves to a World Cup final and it goes horribly wrong. There was a review, and they reappointed him."
"Over the next two years, it was as if history was repeating itself. He said he’d never do it again, but he could have stepped away after losing the World Cup final and thought, ‘that’s two I’ve lost now, one with Australia and one with England’, but England offered him a new deal and he took it. I’m just not sure there was a proper review conducted after that World Cup final, because if there was, that wouldn’t have happened."
England bosses need to take ownership of appointments
Dallaglio then directed his attention to the directorship structure in the RFU, suggesting a lack of responsibility was a factor in the Red Rose’s downfall after the 2003 World Cup victory.
"The thing with England is that everything we built was dismantled,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was jealousy or whatever. Clive Woodward should have gone straight into the top job as Director of Rugby and be in charge of the structure that was required to keep England going as a superpower in the game, but that hasn’t happened and England went from being the number one side in the world to falling off badly."
"It feels like every single appointment hasn’t been conducted in the right way. What makes matters worse is that there’s no ownership of the appointments – they say they’ve got an independent anonymous panel who’s going to conduct a review of the England team and then appoint the next head coach – but if you appoint someone, you need to know who made that appointment and whether it went right or wrong."
"I think all of our previous head coaches since the 2003 World Cup – Stuart Lancaster, Andy Robertson and Brian Ashton – are all great individuals, but I don’t think they were given the England job at the right time. We have this tendency to give the job to people who don’t have a lot of coaching experience, but in order to be a great coach, you’re going to need to make mistakes along the way!"
You can watch the full episode here: https://youtu.be/tqW-U-epKL8?si=0vrBJFRD93jVpx3c