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England have strong group focus, says Daly

 

Elliot Daly
Elliot Daly

By Andrew Baldock

Elliot Daly insists England's first World Cup target must be getting beyond the group phase following their dismal campaign in 2015.

In the worst performance by a host nation, England failed to reach the quarter-finals after successive defeats to Wales and Australia, which led to the dismissal of coach Stuart Lancaster.

While not as daunting as four years ago, the pool stage at Japan 2019 is still formidable, with Tonga providing hard-hitting opening opponents in Sapporo on Sunday before pivotal clashes against Argentina and France unfold on successive weekends.

Daly made his England debut in 2016, but the dire showing four years ago has been discussed within Eddie Jones' squad.

"Everyone wants to win the World Cup, but for us it's just important to get out of the pool well," Daly said.

"We've talked about things that could happen at the World Cup. We haven't played a game yet, so it will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday and then we'll go from there."

Only wing Jack Nowell and prop Mako Vunipola are unavailable for selection.

Nowell has an ankle issue and Vunipola a hamstring problem, but both should be fit for the decisive stage of the group phase.

The knee injuries carried by wing Joe Cokanasiga and flanker Mark Wilson have cleared up, putting them in contention to face Tonga on Sunday.

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