England vs Fiji - Steve Borthwick's Predicted Team for Rugby World Cup Quarter Final - Ruck

England vs Fiji – Steve Borthwick’s Predicted Team for Rugby World Cup Quarter Final

After finishing at the top of Pool D, England can now turn their attention to the knock-out stages of the Rugby World Cup. England will take on Pool C runners-up Fiji in the quarter-finals, with Steve Borthwick once again poised some selection questions after last weekend’s performance.

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England underperformed in Saturday’s 18-17 victory over Samoa, as they scraped passed the Pacific Islanders despite expectations of a comfortable win.

They come up against Fiji in their first meeting in just over a month, and want to make amends for their historic first-ever defeat last time out at Twickenham.

Here are RUCK’s predictions, for the England side that will play Samoa


15. Freddie Steward

14. Henry Arundell

11. Elliot Daly

Freddie Steward of England during the Six Nations Match between England and Italy at Twickenham, London on 12 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Where do you begin with the back three, in this classic conundrum of not being able to please all of the people, all of the time. With Marcus Smith converted to full-back in Borthwick’s eyes, you would be hard-pressed to utilise the Harlequins’ talents from the get go, however, the former Leicester Head Coach knows all too well the world-class talents that Freddie Steward can bring to the 15 jersey on his day.

We predict the reliable Steward will start in the high-stakes quarter-final, with Smith ready to provide a burst of high-octane energy to lift (or rescue) the game against Fiji in the second half. After scoring five tries and annoucing himself to the Rugby World Cup, it was a crying shame to see Henry Arundell excluded entirley for the match against Samoa. Joe Marchant is utilised better at outside centre than on the wing, and we would like to see the Racing 92 speedster return to the fold against Fiji.

Marchant will start, to provide a covering option should Arundell leave the pitch, with the left wing spot going to the equally versatile Elliot Daly. The Saracen has excelled on the left wing, fullback and centre in his England career, and he provides an adaptable option for Borthwick, should he need to shake up the side in the matches’ latter stages. Also, Daly has been firing well since his return from injury, and deserves a start in the quarter-finals.


13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais)

12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)

Manu Tuilagi will likely leave Sale Sharks this summer

As mentioned, Marchant should begin the match against Fiji at outside centre, and provide the covering option on the wing if it is required. Along with the rest of the England side, the Stade Francais man had a slower match than he would have hoped against Samoa, and is eager to right the wrongs against Fiji this Sunday. After running out against the country of his birth, it is expected to see Manu Tuilagi return to England’s midfield for the quarter-final match.

England can pull from their recent experience against Fiji as to what to expect. The Pacific Islanders recorded their first ever win against England during the 2023 Summer Nations in August, as Tuilagi lined up with Ollie Lawrence in the centres. England certainly chose brawn last Summer, with Fiji able to utilise their flair and work their way passed the bruising centres. There is no denying the match-winning talents that Tuilagi brings, and the Sale Sharks man will be ready to crash over the Fijian gain-line.

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