England made a winning start to their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign with a 27-10 victory over Argentina. Brighton-born Joe Marler came off the bench in the second half of the game to help his side prevail in Marseille.
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 9, 2023
It was a tough night for England as they were forced to play with 14 players for 77 minutes, as Tom Curry was sent off in the third minute of the game. Fly-half George Ford was the hero in Steve Borthwick’s team as he kicked all 27 of his side’s points.
England Now in Good Position to Qualify for Knockout Stages
Argentina was set to be one of England’s toughest tests in Pool D of the 2023 World Cup. Their next challenge will come against Japan where they are expected to be the favourites in the rugby odds this weekend.
After facing Japan in Nice, England will then finish the group stage with games against Chile and Samoa. They will be red-hot favourites to win both of those matches as their opponents are ranked 22nd and 12th respectively in the world rankings.
The top two from Pool D will qualify for the quarter-finals of the tournament in France. If England can finish the group at the top of the standings, they are likely to have an easier game in the last eight.
Marler Could Get More Opportunities as The Tournament Goes On
The game against Argentina was Marler’s 82nd cap for England. He is one of the most experienced members of Borthwick’s squad and has now played at three World Cup tournaments. Although he did not start in the first game, he came off the bench in the final against South Africa four years ago and will likely be trusted to make an impact moving forward.
Joe Marler has come out of international retirement and been named in England’s 35-man training squad for the Rugby World Cup 👊🌹 pic.twitter.com/ZPRg4vh94f
— Rugby on TNT Sports (@rugbyontnt) July 4, 2019
Prior to Marler’s return to the England squad back in July, he had not played for his country since the 2022 Six Nations. Borthwick had a conversation with the Harlequins man back in the summer and he persuaded him to accept the invitation back into the set-up. Marler could be given the chance to impress against Chile or Samoa, especially if qualification for the next stage is already secured at that point.
Expectations Not as High This Year for England
Although England were runners-up in the last World Cup in 2019, expectations this year are much lower. They had a disappointing Six Nations campaign, finishing fourth in the standings and they are now down to eighth in the world rankings.
Marler and his teammates are not one of the teams expected to be challenging for the trophy this year, with hosts France, defending champions South Africa and the mighty New Zealand the three most likely winners.
However, victory over Argentina will give England a lot of confidence. They rallied together and played with 14 men to produce a convincing win. With an experienced squad, they will be hoping they can continue to upset the odds and book their spot in a second consecutive final on the 28th of October at the Stade de France in Paris.