Joseph: Pool survivors can flourish
Jonathan Joseph believes the two teams who qualify from England's Rugby World Cup pool can make it all the way to the Twickenham final.
England line up against Australia, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay in the tournament's so-called 'pool of death' next month with only the top two making it through to the quarter-final stage.
New Zealand are favourites to defend the title they won on home soil four years ago but England centre Joseph feels the intense competition in Pool A could be an advantage for the two sides who eventually emerge from it.
"It's a tough pool and teams have got to perform to the best of their ability right from the start if they want to go through," Joseph told Press Association Sport.
"That's going to help moving on and I don't see any reason why the two teams who get through can't meet again.
"There are a lot of competitive teams in the tournament but the top two who come through our pool are capable of going all the way to the final.
"Australia's back-line is probably different to anyone else in the tournament as they have got a nice balance and like to throw the ball around.
"They put a stress on having the ball in hand and we will have to get our defensive systems right to stop them, while I feel Wales' best players are in the back positions.
"They are strong in that area as they have got some big boys in that back line and we will have to be focused against them.
"But our thoughts will only be on that first game against Fiji."
Bath star Joseph sat out England's opening World Cup warm-up game on Saturday, the 19-14 victory over France at Twickenham.
But Joseph, who was named players' player of the year and England player of the year at the 2015 Rugby Players' Association awards, is set to play in the return at the Stade de France this weekend.
"These games are massive because it is a great stepping stone to building momentum into that first World Cup match," said Joseph, a Samsung brand ambassador.
"It's a big chance to put yourself forward for selection looking further forward and everyone is going to have a point to prove.
"The selectors will be looking at potential players and partnerships that they will want to see at the World Cup, and you've got to show that self-belief and confidence in your ability."
This time last year Joseph was on the fringe of the England squad but the absences of Brad Barritt and Manu Tuilagi gave him his chance and the 24-year-old has not looked back.
Joseph starred last season as Bath finished as 2014-15 Aviva Premiership runners-up and he scored four tries in England's RBS 6 Nations campaign.
"On a personal level I feel I'm in a very good place," Joseph said.
"I had the shirt in the Six Nations and that was a big tournament for me when you consider where I was a year ago.
"There's massive pride in what I've achieved but I would be stupid to take it for granted. I'm very much realistic about what I've got to do to get in England's World Cup side."
::Samsung are an official partner of the RFU and England rugby team. As a brand ambassador, Jonathan Joseph will be featuring in the Samsung School of Rugby campaign launching in September. To keep up to date visit SamsungSport on Twitter & Facebook.