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England on a wing and a prayer: Jones

By Duncan Bech

Eddie Jones joked that he will visit Japanese temples to "pray really hard" before embracing England's renewed presence in the World Cup's 'group of death'.

For a second consecutive time the 2003 champions have been drawn in the most challenging pool, featuring France and Argentina as well as two qualifiers, most likely the USA and Samoa.

England, as hosts, crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage in 2015 following defeats by Wales and Australia, resulting in the dismissal of Jones' predecessor Stuart Lancaster.

And there is every danger of history repeating itself after the draw staged at the Kyoto State Guest House pitched them alongside two more heavyweights in a brutal Pool C.

Jones quipped "nobody is going to die" when it was put to him that England had been drawn in the group of death and, while he will be seeking divine intervention, he ultimately views the games as ideal preparation for lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

"I'm going to visit the temples because I need to pray. I need to pray really hard!" Jones said.

"We're excited by it. It's not a tough group, it's a good group. To win the World Cup you have to win seven games.

"Australia showed in 2015 that the tough games helped them for the ones further ahead. Australia went past Ireland and Argentina in the knockout stage.

"We want to win the World Cup and to do that we need to be well prepared and there are no better teams than France and Argentina."

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