Jason Robinson urges England to take hope from unlikely 2007 World Cup run

Jason Robinson urges England to take hope from unlikely 2007 World Cup run

Jason Robinson insists England must look to his 2007 runners-up rather than the triumphant vintage of 2003 for inspiration to drive their World Cup quest this autumn.

Either France, Ireland, South Africa or New Zealand are tipped to become champions in what is expected to be the fiercest battle yet for the global crown currently held by the Springboks.

England, meanwhile, are outsiders as Steve Borthwick continues to find his feet, having taken over an under-performing side from the sacked Eddie Jones in September.

Jason Robinson in action as England went down 36-0 in the group stage of the 2007 World Cup
Jason Robinson in action as England went down 36-0 in the group stage of the 2007 World Cup (PA)

Managing only two wins in the recent Six Nations has done little to rouse hopes, but Robinson recalls the 2007 tournament as an example of how quickly a team’s fortunes can be reversed.

“The reality is that England have got a better group than most and they’ve got to top it. And then when you get into the knockout stage it’s anybody’s,” Robinson, the Asahi Super Dry ambassador for the 2023 World Cup, told the PA news agency.

“I don’t think there has ever been a World Cup where there are so many teams in contention and I would say England are in the mix, but they are going to have to build some form.

“I would never have said we’d get to the final in 2007 with the form that we had in the lead up to it, not a chance. We were playing crap.

“We limped through the pool stages in 2007, getting beaten 36-0 by South Africa. I pulled my hamstring in that game. It was a real slap in the face for us.

“While we didn’t have form in the team, we still had some good players. The defeat against South Africa was the shock we needed.

“We got through the pool and then we found some form against Australia in the quarters. We beat France who were hosts and suddenly we were in the final. We could have won that too had Mark Cueto (who had a try controversially disallowed after it was ruled his left foot had made contact with the touchline) not had six toes!

“What happened to us in 2007 gives hope. It can be done – in sport you can turn things around in a very short space of time.

“Sometimes you get written off and you’ve got to take that on the chin and try to find a way to win.

“This England team have got some great players, but they’ve got to find form and also find the way they want to play.”

Jason Robinson played in two World Cup finals (Handout/PA)

Robinson played in both the 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals and, although he was part of the greatest side to emerge from these shores, he sees the semi-final victory over New Zealand four years ago as the finest single performance.

The All Blacks were flattened 19-7 on a dramatic night in Yokohama that saw the tone set through a defiant response to the Haka.

“While we won the World Cup in 2003, England’s game against New Zealand in 2019 is the best I’ve ever seen an England team play. That’s the standout England game for me,” cross-code star Robinson said.

“I was blown away by how England approached the game. I’ve never seen New Zealand dominated like that before.

“We mixed up our game so well. We were physical, we played smart, we played around them, we played through them. When I watched it I thought ‘wow’.”

:: Asahi Super Dry is offering fans a host of beyond expected experiences, including tickets to the sold-out tournament, through retail promotional packs and QR codes on pint glasses in pubs, bars, restaurants nationwide.