England could play last World Cup warm-up at half-empty Twickenham

Twickenham could be half-empty for England’s last Rugby World Cup warm-up game, with 40,000 tickets unsold and top tier closed… while All Blacks are set to sell out stadium night before

  • Steve Borthwick’s side have had a run of summer international ties to forget 
  • SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: Now is the time for England’s leaders to stand up  
  • PLUS: England could face double disciplinary whammy with Farrell and Vunipola 

England are set to play their last warm-up match before the World Cup in front of a half-full Twickenham on Saturday, according to reports. 

Steve Borthwick’s side are set to face Fiji in their final tie before the tournament, which kicks off in Paris on September 8 when hosts France play New Zealand at Stade de France. 

After a lacklustre 29-10 defeat at the hands of Ireland on Saturday, confidence in the squad’s upcoming World Cup hopes appears at an all-time low. 

England’s warm-up matches have seen them trounced in Cardiff by Wales, before narrowly beating Warren Gatland’s side 19-17 on home soil at Twickenham a week later.  

As England battles a looming crisis with the worst-possible timing, Borthwick’s men may lack a packed house roaring them to victory against Fiji on the weekend, with Telegraph Sport reporting that less than half of the ground’s 82,000 seats had been sold. 

Twickenham will be half-empty is more tickets do not sell for England’s final warm-up tie against Fiji on Saturday

Steve Borthwick’s side will look to move on from a drab performance against Ireland last week

With only around 40,000 attendees in line to watch the last summer international fixture, Twickenham will block off the upper deck of the stadium. 

By contrast, the last time the two times met at the south west London ground, in a 2019 international clash, 81,409 fans watched the 58-15 rout in England’s favour. 

Twickenham will host the All Blacks on Friday the day before the meeting, but the clash – which will see the sides contest the inaugural Qatar Airways Cup – is expected to draw a full house, with tickets close to sold out.    

England could face yet more woes off the pitch, with both Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola’s disciplinary hearings scheduled for Tuesday. 

Owen Farrell (left) and Billy Vunipola (right) will learn their fate at disciplinary hearings on Tuesday after picking up red cards against Wales and Ireland respectively

The hearings will decide the fate of the two players’ possible suspensions and could leave Borthwick with important gaps to fill in his squad before the August 30 deadline. 

Farrell’s high tackle on Wales’ Taine Basham stirred up controversy after the player’s upgraded red card was cleared by a disciplinary panel last week, allowing him to look forward to England’s opening World Cup fixtures. 

However, World Rugby appealed the decision, and their appeal will be held on Tuesday morning. 

For his hit on Ireland prop Andrew Porter, Vunipola is unlikely to receive as lengthy a possible suspension as Farrell due to his clean disciplinary record.  

Source: Read Full Article