England take on the world in 2023

With the biggest tournament in rugby union on it's way, excitement is building – and we’ll be with England all the way.

Here at O2, we’ve been a proud partner of England Rugby since 1995 and we’re seriously excited about seeing the England men’s team take on the world in France this autumn. From 8 September until the end of October, rugby union’s elite players will be locked in a battle for supremacy – and England will be among the favourites.

Nothing is ever certain in sport, and England will be facing some tough opposition. But we wear the rose through thick and thin, and given how tight the world rankings are in 2023, we’re looking forward to a thrilling and unpredictable competition. We’re wishing the England men’s team good luck in France – and if you're lucky enough to be watching in person, remember to Roam On and make the most of roaming freely in the EU up to 25GB.

Without further ado, discover everything you need to know about how the squad are shaping up… Come on England!

England rugby players

Coming out strong

England’s experience at the Guinness Six Nations earlier this year wasn’t without its challenges – but the team will be fired up and ready to give it their all as they head for France. New head coach Steve Borthwick, who took over from Eddie Jones last December, and his squad will have learned some lessons that they should be able to turn into positives. Borthwick will benefit from having more time to prepare his squad, both physically and tactically – as well as four Tests prior to the start of the tournament against Wales (home and away), Ireland in Dublin and Fiji at Twickenham Stadium.

England rugby players

Close to home

While you wouldn’t necessarily expect hordes of England fans to follow their team to, say, Australia or Japan (although lots do), a tournament in France is far less daunting in terms of distance and cost. England supporters are expected to travel in their droves, especially with two pool matches taking place in Lille – the stadium nearest to England – and another in Marseille, so there should be strong English support to roar the team on. Also, the squad will be based in the northern seaside town of Le Touquet, less than 40 miles from the Kent coast, so there certainly won’t be any jet lag involved or acclimatising required.

England rugby players

Squad goals

Borthwick named his 33-man squad for France at the start of August and it’s packed with players who put in excellent performances for their clubs this season. Backs Ben Youngs and Freddie Steward were instrumental in getting Leicester to the Premiership semi-finals, while Courtney Lawes and Lewis Ludlum were part of a superb Northampton pack. The two Premiership Grand Finalists, Sale Sharks and Saracens, are also providing some of England’s most important and in-form players. Sharks backs George Ford and Manu Tuilagi and forward Tom Curry have excelled this season, while Saracens’ powerful lock Maro Itoje has been one of England’s most reliable performers for years.

England rugby players

Feeling inspired

For a shot of motivation, the England men’s rugby team could do a lot worse than looking to their sister squad. The Red Roses have smashed it in 2023, defeating all comers in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations – including fierce rivals France – to become champions for the fifth year running. They also hold top spot in the world rankings. O2 has long been a big supporter of the Red Roses, both as sports fans and through our partnership with England Rugby. Here’s hoping their success spurs on the men’s team this autumn.

England rugby players

Show your support with Priority

Thanks to Priority from O2, you can cheer on England Rugby whether you’re at home or travelling to France. From signed shirt giveaways to England Rugby kit offers, with Priority there will be experiences to enhance your matchday experience wherever you’re watching.

Published: 17 Aug 2023