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England Rugby World Cup winner Kyran Bracken gives current crop ‘puncher’s chance’ of winning the tournament in France





Having been a part of England’s memorable triumph of 20 years ago, Kyran Bracken knows just what it takes to win a Rugby World Cup.

It is a success that the class of 2023 are battling to replicate this month, having successfully negotiated their way through the pool stages to set up a quarter-final clash with Fiji on Sunday (October 15).

But does this current crop have what it takes to match the heroics of Bracken and his team-mates? The 51-capped scrum-half has it doubts, yet he is refusing to rule it out completely.

Kyran Bracken, below, does not expect England to win the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA
Kyran Bracken, below, does not expect England to win the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

Bracken said: “Sport is a very strange thing. I would imagine England will beat Fiji – probably comfortably – and get through to the semi-finals.

“After that I would call it a puncher’s chance. What I mean when I say that is that promoters in heavyweight boxing always say ‘he’s got a puncher’s chance’ and in reality when someone is face to face with Tyson Fury people think he’s got no chance, but there is such a thing as puncher’s chance.

“Remember Anthony Joshua got knocked out by (Andy) Ruiz so there’s always a chance, and that’s the same for England.

Kyran Bracken, below, does not expect England to win the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA
Kyran Bracken, below, does not expect England to win the Rugby World Cup. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA

“When they played at the last World Cup, they played New Zealand (in the semi-final) and a lot of people expected it to be easy (for New Zealand) and then they (England) got to the final.

“In sport these things happen. I wouldn’t count England out and I think they’ll quite like going into the semi-finals as underdogs.

“Either France of South Africa (in the semi-final), it’s a game they could win and if they do that they’re in the final when anything can happen.

“Can England get to the final? Yes. Do I think we will? No. But could we win the whole thing? Yes. Do I think we will? No. But they have a chance for sure.”

England's Danny Care breaks away to score his side's second try during the Rugby World Cup 2023, Pool D match at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA
England's Danny Care breaks away to score his side's second try during the Rugby World Cup 2023, Pool D match at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

Closer to home, Bracken, who has backed South Africa to successfully defend the title that they won at England’s expense four years ago, is looking forward to an event that he is running in Cambridge next month.

The former Bristol and Saracens player recently took over the hosting duties of Southern Sporting Clubs’ lunches from another ex-England international David Duckham, who died in January of this year.

And in what will be a change from the norm, Bracken has confirmed that it will be female guest speaker after securing the services Olympic gold medalist Dame Katherine Grainger, who will be sharing stories of her glittering rowing career at The Graduate Hotel in Cambridge on Friday, November 24.

“I like to think myself and David had similar values. We want to create value for money and put on great sporting events.

“I’ve rarely seen a woman at the event and I wanted to change that. I’ve worked with Dame Katherine Grainger before and I’m excited that she’s coming to Cambridge.

“People at these events might be used to seeing a bloke talking about rugby, football or cricket but we’re going with an Olympian and that’s great.

“The secret to the success of these lunches is about the sporting personality and them coming along and telling their stories, however that might be. She’s got an amazing story. Obviously she won Olympic gold and getting inside the mindset of an Olympian is really impressive.

“Katherine is not necessarily going to go out there and tell hilarious stories of a night out, it’s more about the winning. People can see and hear what it was like to be an Olympian, find out what it was like from her side – it’s her story to tell.

“When you watch the Olympics, when you watch things like the Ryder Cup and the World Cups and you see these massive sporting events, you just wonder how they felt before, during and after their success. For me, that’s the most special thing about these lunches.”

To purchase a ticket for the lunch at The Graduate in Cambridge with Dame Katherine Grainger, contact kyran@southernsportingclubs.co.uk.



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