Ireland, Wales and Scotland fans told 'swallow your pride' and support England at World Cup 4 months ago

Ireland, Wales and Scotland fans told 'swallow your pride' and support England at World Cup

'Hear me out'

England have made it to another World Cup semi-final and, as much as they may quibble about one of the most LOPSIDED(!) draws in World Cup history, all Irish, Welsh and Scottish rugby fans is sit back and watch.

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Whether or not they may be cheering on Steve Borthwick's men, though, is another matter entirely.

England take on South Africa at Stade de France, on Saturday night, and there will at least be some Irish involvement. Felix Jones is part of the Springbok coaching staff and is looking to help his side to a rare World Cup repeat. The Boks also have 5-cap former Ireland international Jean Kleyn in their squad.

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Aside from Jean Kleyn and Felix Jones, Irish supporters can point to former Munster coaches Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber [heading to Leinster after the RWC], Damian De Allende [former Munster], Duane Vermeulen [former Ulster], RG Snyman [Munster] and Steven Kitshoff [Ulster] as extra reasons to back the Boks.

Ahead of the weekend semi-finals - Argentina vs. New Zealand and South Africa vs. England - one Telegraph columnist has bravely dived on the grenade and written the piece many 'home nations' supporters knew was coming.

Jim White has penned a piece that is calling on the Irish, Welsh and Scots to put grudges to one side and get behind Owen Farrell and the rest of the English boys for the rest of the World Cup.

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England

'The Home Nations deserve need an England victory'

Ireland and Scotland headed into the World Cup as the No.1 and No.5 ranked sides, and had high hopes of going deep in the tournament. Welsh fans were not getting too carried away until their side filleted Australia to effectively dump them out of the World Cup.

As we head into the semi finals, though, supporters of those three nations are left tending to their emotional wounds as the southern hemisphere and England play for the big prize.

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All is not lost, though, argues Jim White in his Telegraph column. 'Followers of the other home nations – and indeed of France, Italy and all European rugby countries,' he writes, 'might be advised to put aside tradition, temporarily swallow their animosity and get behind England.'

White makes the point that there is nothing wrong with disliking England, especially during the height of the Six Nations, but claims only a second ever northern hemisphere World Cup triumph [England had the last one, in 2003] is the best outcome. White states:

'Moreover, if, as every hint of the present and past form book suggests, New Zealand face South Africa on Saturday week in the final, it will be a further kick in the teeth for British and Irish rugby. It will deliver another bristling statement of southern hemisphere superiority.

'And for those of you who say they really aren’t interested in how other home nations teams fare against the southern giants, that you are solely bothered about the prospects of Wales, Scotland or Ireland, remember that next time you are in the bar of your local rugby club at breakfast time getting excited about the Lions in action in Sydney, Auckland or Johannesburg.'

The piece argues that if you have cheered for the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler or Tom Curry while they have been in a Lions jersey, why not extend them that courtesy in Saturday's tilt against the Springboks.

White feels England may be in for a "bulldozing" against the reigning world champions and, even if they overcame that challenge, would most likely face off against an in-form All Blacks in the final.

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England winning their second World Cup would definitely add spice to the 2024 Six Nations, like it did back in 2004 when Ireland rolled into Twickenham and defeated the world champs, but we'd advise you to go with your heart on this one.

As for us, we may have a sneaky cheer or two for Los Pumas.

MIKE ROSS & JOHNE MURPHY ON HOUSE OF RUGBY

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