The Sunday Mail
World Cup winner Jason Robinson says the current England squad reminds him of the 2007 team that overcame a poor run of form to reach the World Cup final.
The 2007 team only won one warm-up game against Wales, before losing 36-0 in the pool stages to South Africa.
Last weekend’s defeat by Fiji was England’s third loss in four warm-up matches before the World Cup in France.
“We have got the players, we just need to find the formula and get the results,” said the 2003 World Cup winner.
“It reminds me of 2007 where we went out to France and were awful.”
Robinson played in the 15-6 final loss to South Africa in 2007, which was his last game of professional rugby.
After making it through the group, Brian Ashton’s side produced a big upset against Australia, winning 12-10 in the quarter-final, followed by a victory over hosts France 14-9 in the semi-final.
“We stumbled into a quarter-final and all of a sudden we realised we have got to find something here or otherwise we are out – and we did,” former winger Robinson told BBC Sport.
“We came back and we ended up getting into the final.” England also reached the final in 2019, producing a near-complete performance to beat New Zealand 19-7 in Japan, a game which Robinson says is “the best” he has seen an England team play. Out of the starting XV who faced the All Blacks in 2019, 12 travel to France for the 2023 World Cup.
“The semi-final against New Zealand was the best I have ever seen England play, and that’s including the 2003 World Cup team,” he added.
Despite England losing five out of their last six games, Robinson believes they are not “a bad team” and just need to find that “spark” to get going.
“At the moment, we are not combining all that talent, and playing in the way we should,” he added.
“We have got to look inside internally and find something that’s going to give us a bit of a spark because it’s going to be tough.” England begin their World Cup campaign against Argentina on September 9 in Marseille, before a likely quarter-final against either Wales, Australia or Fiji — with only Fiji currently above England in the world rankings.
“Thankfully, we have got an easier group compared to others, so I am hoping that we get through Argentina, and then realistically we should get into a semi-final,” Robinson said.
“There are a few teams like England, Wales, Australia, that probably are the underdogs, people have written them off.
“However, I can see them causing an upset along the way.” — BBC.