Ford reveals England dissected 2015 flop ahead of World Cup assault in Japan


Ford says that England’s 2015 World Cup flop was discussed “at length” before their assault on global glory in Japan.

England, then coached by Stuart Lancaster, became the first host nation in Rugby World Cup history to make a pool stage exit.

They failed to progress from a group that also included Wales and Australia, bowing out with indecent haste.

England were knocked out at the pool stage in 2015
England were knocked out at the pool stage in 2015

Four years on, though and an Eddie Jones-led England will contest next Saturday’s final against South Africa following a stunning victory over New Zealand that has installed them as clear title favourites.

“We discussed that (2015) in our pre-season,” England fly-half Ford said. “We discussed it at length.

“We got all that stuff out from 2015 and since then we’ve moved forward, we’ve cracked on, we haven’t looked back or spoken about it once.

“It is about being the best England team. It was important that we got it out of our system, but as soon as it was done and dusted we moved on.”

George Ford was a key figure against New Zealand
George Ford was a key figure against New Zealand

Ford led from the front in England’s demolition of the All Blacks, kicking four penalties after skipper and regular marksman Owen Farrell suffered a dead leg.

But England have no intention of getting carried away by their status as World Cup finalists, knowing there is a huge job ahead of them.

“The feeling now is that we’ve given ourselves an opportunity – that is literally all it is,” he added.

“We’ve got one opportunity now to finish it off. We understand what is ahead of us and it is an opportunity for us.

“The boss (Jones) addressed the squad as usual. It was ‘well done, good win’, he said he was proud of us and let’s crack on to this week.

“And genuinely, I think the feeling across the players – and this is not faking it in any way – is we are over the moon with the win, but we want to finish this off. It’s a good opportunity.

“The things that make us have the belief we have is the way we prepare and train. The way we train is pretty unique.

“We get tested by the coaches pretty consistently from week to week, and there is a lot put in to trying to solve things.”

An early indication that a special performance was imminent came during the pre-match Haka when England’s squad formed a V formation to face down New Zealand’s arrowhead led by Kieran Read.

England met the All Blacks haka with a V formation
England met the All Blacks haka with a V formation

Forming the tips were Billy Vunipola and Joe Marler, the prop whose wandering acted as a distraction to the All Blacks, while scrum-half Aaron Smith later revealed that Owen Farrell winked at him throughout.

Ford said: “Look, first of all we wanted to respect it because I think it’s a brilliant part of the game.

“We also wanted to send a bit of a message ourselves. A bit of – ‘bring it on’. I suppose that’s what they do when they are doing the Haka.

“They are laying it down, so we thought ‘bring it on, we’re coming back for you a little bit’.”