Our best bets for England's third game at the 2023 Rugby World Cup include an anytime tryscorer.
England can move to within touching distance of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday with a victory over tournament debutants Chile in Lille.
Having seen off Argentina and Japan in their first two games, Steve Borthwick’s side are sitting pretty at the top of Pool D with nine points from a possible ten.
Borthwick has rung the changes for England’s third game in France, making 12 in total for a clash against a Chile side that have shown plenty of spirit in their opening two games.
The Condors have asked questions of both Samoa and Japan in their maiden World Cup, but have ultimately come up short, losing by at least 30 points in each contest.
A meeting with the South American minnows is a chance for England to sharpen what’s been a blunt attack so far, but like Samoa and Japan before them, they may find Chile awkward opponents, at least initially.
Condors can stay out of reach early on
Chile have been one of the more eye-catching teams to watch at the Rugby World Cup so far with their attacking brand of rugby winning over plenty of neutrals.
They’ve been keen to have a go and have been rewarded with a try in each of their first games, both in the first half, giving the scoreline at the break plenty of respectability.
This Pool D fixture presents a clash of styles with England taking a kick-first approach to their meetings with Japan and Argentina.
Whether the 2003 World Cup winners are willing to take more risks against Chile only time will tell, but it is a new-look team that may take a while to click.
Marcus Smith starts at full-back having done well in that role when coming on against Japan but has never started there before for England, while Danny Care and the suspension-free Owen Farrell are paired together as the half-backs.
A look back at England’s recent World Cup meetings with so-called weaker sides suggests this will be a slow burner. In 2019, England were 19-0 ahead after 40 minutes against the USA and held an 18-3 lead against Tonga.
Chile’s resistance is likely to crumble at some point, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they can at least hold out for 40 minutes against an England team that’s scored one first-half try in two games to date.
Red Rose will eventually turn the screw
England eventually pulled away from Japan with three second-half tries as the game opened up and they made their superior fitness count.
Given the semi-professional nature of many of their squad, Chile have struggled to maintain the high standards they’ve set early on in their first two games and there may well be some tired bodies in Pablo Lemoine’s squad after two bruising games in two weeks.
They shipped 24 points without reply in the second half against Samoa last time around and while both previous games have seen more points in the first half, this may be another story entirely.
In recent years, England had faded away after the interval, but they are in better physical condition now and have come on strong in the final 40 minutes in France.
Borthwick has selected some excellent finishers among the backs in Elliot Daly, Henry Arundell and Max Malins, and as gaps start to appear, those players should take their chances.
Take Care when choosing tryscorers
Danny Care has seen his England career resurrected in the last 18 months and the 36-year-old will win his 92nd international cap against Chile on Saturday.
In a game where England could run in a few tries, Care stands out as an anytime tryscorer option.
The Harlequins scrum-half ranks fourth on the Premiership’s list of all-time tryscorers with a well-known knack for sniping over the line from close range.
Samoa scrum-half Jonathan Taumateine was able to get his name on the scoresheet against Chile last weekend and, in what could be his final start for England, Care may well grab his 14th international try.
Chile (+23.5) 1st half handicap @ 17/20
Highest scoring half – second half @ 3/5