Joe Cokanasiga backed to shine for England vs USA as Jason Robinson tells stars to step up

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There could be injuries which create opportunities but equally this could be it for some. The maths don’t work for them – 31 into 23 doesn’t go.

As England move towards the business end of the group and Argentina and France, Eddie Jones will revert to his frontline players so those guys being given a run on Thursday have to make the most of their moment.

A World Cup can be tougher on some guys than others. At least they have this one shot. Back in 2003, when we won the World Cup, Simon Shaw did not get on the pitch.

I think it’s wise of Eddie to shuffle his cards at this stage. There were some big impacts in that Tonga game on Sunday and it is only a short turnaround for those who are being asked to double up.

What his selection also does is ensure everybody in the squad – apart from Jack Nowell and Mako Vunipolo who are injured – has experienced a taste of the tournament.

In that sense the games have fallen well for England – if it had been Argentina or France on Thursday Eddie would not have been able to make so many changes.

There is a lot to improve on the Tonga game. England will want to step up their performance from that match.

I predicted a 30-point win for England and the margin turned out to be 32 so in that respect the game unfolded how I anticipated but what did surprise me is that having got out in front in the first half England’s inability to pull away in the last quarter.

Manu Tuilagi scored a couple of tries and Anthony Watson had a couple of good runs but nobody in an England shirt really had a blinder.

All in all it was a little bit scrappy with a lot of unforced errors but it was the first game of the tournament and World Cups do take some getting used to. The intensity is different to anything else.

Everyone expects England to win on Thursday and win comfortably – USA are one of the weaker teams we will play – and so do I. If I was a winger going out there I would be wanting to score a couple of tries and make my mark on the tournament.

My advice to Joe Cokanasiga would be to go looking for that ball. Don’t just wait for it to come to you – go and make things happen. Dominate in the air, support the breaks and look for inside balls off the No 10 or the No 12.

Big Joe is different to all the other wingers we have got. He has a lot of power – that much is obvious from just looking at him – but he also has quick feet for a big man. When he gets his hands on the ball he causes problems. And he can score tries.

This is his time to show the world what he’s got.

What with the pace of Ruaridh McConnochie and Elliot Daly, it’s not a bad England back three.

I’ve watched McConnochie on the sevens circuit through the years and he’s done well for Bath this season but it’s just a shame he wasn’t able to play more games ahead of the World Cup because of injury.

Of all the wingers in the squad he is the one with the most to prove and he has not got a lot of time to do it. Maybe just 80 minutes.

Jason Robinson is an ambassador for Fuzion100, the official rehydration partner of England Rugby. Find out more at

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