England has officially secured victory in their Rugby World Cup pool with one match remaining, making them the second team to qualify for the quarter-finals following Japan’s win over Samoa on Thursday night.
Despite still having one pool stage match against Samoa in Lille next week, England can now start preparing for their quarter-final in Marseille the following week.
England has triumphed over Argentina, Japan, and Chile in their pool matches at Rugby World Cup . While it would have been highly improbable for them not to qualify, Steve Borthwick, their coach, can take satisfaction in his team becoming the second to secure a spot in the last eight, following Wales.
Japan’s inability to secure a bonus point against Samoa guarantees that England finishes at the top of the pool. There’s a possibility of a rematch with Fiji in the quarter-finals, as the Pacific Islanders are likely to finish second in their group. A bonus point victory for Fiji against Georgia on Saturday would secure their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2007, potentially eliminating Australia in the process.
In the quarter-finals, England could also face Wales or Australia. After England’s historic defeat by Fiji at Twickenham last month, Coach Borthwick’s comment about the possibility of facing Fiji again seems particularly prescient.