England cannot afford to ‘sleepwalk’ into Chile game, warns Ollie Chessum

A number of smaller nations have impressed at this World Cup so far

Harry Latham-Coyle
Tuesday 19 September 2023 22:16 BST
(Getty Images)

Lock Ollie Chessum has warned that England cannot afford to “sleepwalk” into their next Rugby World Cup pool fixture against Chile.

After two fixtures in the south of France, England will make a shorter trip from their Le Touquet training base across the north of the country to Lille for their third Pool D fixture on Saturday.

World Cup debutants Chile are, on paper, the weakest of the five nations in the pool, but the South Americans have caused problems for Japan and Samoa in their opening two matches in France.

Underdogs Uruguay and Portugal also impressed on the second weekend, pushing France and Wales closer than expected.

England are expected to ring the changes for the fixture, but Chessum has cautioned that Steve Borthwick’s side risk being “exposed” if they do not get their preparation and attitude for the game right.

“If you sleepwalk into games or sleepwalk into anything in this World Cup you will get caught out and exposed,” Chessum said.

“You have seen from the games in the weeks there is not a big disparity between the teams, the tier two nations have taken some of the best teams right to the wire.

The France vs Uruguay game was one - if you sleepwalk into any game in this tournament you are going to get exposed. We will be firing on all cylinders training and on the job to take the game to Chile.”

Borthwick is likely to explore the options in his squad for the fixture, with Marcus Smith believed to be under consideration to start at full-back and Owen Farrell set to return to the side after suspension.

Number eight Billy Vunipola may also be handed a start having featured from the bench in the win against Japan.

Chessum fought back from a serious ankle injury suffered during the Six Nations to make England’s squad for this tournament, with the 23-year-old returning to action in their warm-up defeat to Ireland.

Though Borthwick is likely to rest some of his first-choice starters, the Leicester second row confirmed he was hoping to feature.

“You want to hold your hand up to play at every opportunity possible,” Chessum said. “I have not played a lot of rugby at all in the last six months so I want to keep playing. It is not up to me, it is up to the coaches so I will hold my hand up in training this week and it is up to them, the selection process.

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