"Time For First Cap" - Five England Bolters for World Cup warm-ups - Ruck

“Time For First Cap” – Five England Bolters for World Cup warm-ups

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup kicking off in September, there are just a few last stops in preparation before England embark on their campaign.

Steve Borthwick’s men have their opening match against Argentina, as they head to Marseille for their Pool D clash on the 9th of September.

England have four warm-up matches ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with two home and two away ventures booking up their calendar for the Summer.

England head to Cardiff, for a clash with Wales on August 5th, before Warren Gatland’s side make the return trip to Twickenham the following weekend.

Steve Borthwick, Head Coach of England Rugby during the England Rugby Captains Run ahead of the Six Nations Match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium, London on 24 Feb 2023 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

Steve Borthwick will then lead his side to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, to take on Ireland. This will be a stern test for England, as they take on Andy Farrell’s side for the first time, since Ireland secured the 2023 Six Nations Grand Slam over the visitors.

The final stop before the World Cup is a Twickenham visit from Pacific Islanders Fiji. This will be a physical challenge for England, with squad depth expected to play a key part against the ‘Flying Fijians’.


These four matches will give ambitious World Cup hopefuls the opportunity to put in a big performance, and book their tickets ahead of the trip to France.

The following five players are on the cusp of England breakthroughs, and will be putting their hands up for selection in the upcoming Summer Series.

1. Tom Roebuck – Sale Sharks

Tom Roebuck of Sale Sharks celebrates after winning during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Semi Final Match between Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers at AJ Bell Stadium on 14 May 2023. Photo: Frankie OKeeffe/PPAUK

Steve Borthwick will have to act fast, if he wants to secure the services of the the explosive Sale Sharks winger. Tom Roebuck is eligible to play for both England and Scotland, and it would be assumed that Gregor Townsend would be more than happy to have Roebuck bolster his side’s ranks. Scotland are faced with a ‘Group of Death’ at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, as they have to battle against Ireland and South Africa in Pool B.

Scotland’s shooting stars will be out in full force across the back-three, as the likes of Duhan van der Merwe, Darcy Graham and the retirement-pending Stuart Hogg will take the fight to the rugby powerhouses. Roebuck could well reinforce these Scottish armaments, and has been putting himself in the perfect position for a call-up. Borthwick will have to win the tug-of-war, and tempt the 22-year-old into a career with England very soon.

Try Celebrations for Tom Roebuck of Sale Sharks as he disposes Elliot Daly of Saracens and goes over for a try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Saracens and Sale Sharks at Twickenham Stadium on 27 May 2023. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Roebuck rose to the occasion when the world was watching, as he scored in the Premiership Final against Saracens. This took his try-scoring tally for the season to nine, which is an impressive step towards international recognition. Roebuck has beaten 44 defenders this season, and has made an additional 20 clean breaks. This showcases the Sharks’ fleet-footedness and outright pace, that makes him a serious threat to be reconned with.

Roebuck’s talents are scarily good for his young age. He will soon be coming into his prime, and gaining international caps early in his professional career will only work wanders for his confidence. An international test debut is a daunting occasion no matter the age, so if Borthwick awards Roebuck a run-out this Summer, he will be able to shake off the debut nerves ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

2. Tom Pearson – London Irish

Try celebrations for Tom Pearson of London Irish as he dives over to score during the Gallagher Premiership match between London Irish and Harlequins at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 29 January 2023 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

One of the Premiership’s brightest young talents, Tom Pearson has been a re-occurring name amongst the England call-up conversation this season. After having his Breakthrough Player of the Season year with London Irish, Pearson hopes to follow in the footsteps of his teammates Henry Arundell and Ollie Hassell-Collins, and become the latest Exile to break into the England squad.

Following the recent reports of London Irish’s uncertain future, Pearson will be hoping to utilise the Rugby World Cup as a ‘shop-window’ opportunity. If Irish are exiled from the Premiership, the back-rower will strive for strong performances, to secure his future in the top flight of English rugby. The speculation for the 23-year-old’s England call-up has weight behind it, as London Irish Director of Rugby Declan Kidney confirmed that he and Steve Borthwick had discussed the promising flanker in the past.

Tom Pearson of London Irish during the Gallagher Premiership match between London Irish and Northampton Saints at The Gtech Community Stadium, London on 25 March 2023 (Photo: Danny Loo/PPAUK)

The untimley injuries of England back-row hopefuls Ben Curry and Ruan Ackermann, does open up an opportunity for Pearson. Borthwick may award the Exile with his test debut, to assess his international ability in a World Cup Warm Up fixture. Pearson has previously been on the fringes with England during the Eddie Jones era, but never made it onto the pitch, when he was part of the wider training group for the 2022 Guinness Six Nations.