What if? World Cup 1914...

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What if? World Cup 1914...

Post  Tim Fox-Godden on Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:25 am

Hullo Chaps,

We all know about the tremendous feat that the 2003 squad achieved in winning the world cup, they were the best team in the world and deserved to win it.

I wonder whether you chaps thing England's Grand Slam winning team of 1914 could have done the same had such a competition been in place? If not, who would have won?

It is, of course, all conjecture, but what do you think?

In my opinion England's team during the 1910s had one of the most innovative and well-balanced back lines of any English XV before or since. It may not have had the muscle of the 2003 squad, but the pack was a unit that worked as such.

Obviously, it would have depended on where the tournament was played &c. but I believe that England's squad, culminating in the thrashing of France in the last pre-war match, were truly world beaters.

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say on the matter.

Pip pip,

Tim
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Re: What if? World Cup 1914...

Post  AdrianHunter on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:57 am

Tim,

An interesting conundrum,

Having researched this period quite extensively I can say that the pre ww1 England XV would certainly have tha capability to lift a notional world cup.

They had strength in depth in the three quarters and halves that were bedding in well. Largely they played with their strengths in mind and aimed to get Poulton, Lowe, Watson et al flying down the wing in attack.

The pack was a weak spot. England largely went for light, agile eights who could move fast in open play, as personified by Cherry Pillman. BUT this did leave them vulnerable when they faced big solid packs. Although England were quite capable of running the ball out of defence this was not allways the best game plan!

I suspect that if a world cup had been held it would have been in England. I cant see that the RFU of the time would have let this get away!

Could England have won it? Yes. I have more reservations about if they would have. Both New Zealand and South Africa would have sent big strong teams, and would I feel not be naive enough to play to Englands strengths. They would have put out big packs with instructions to 'keep it up their jumper' All the flair in the world doesnt help if you dont have the ball!

Adrian
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