England head coach Eddie Jones has dismissed the idea that his side would benefit from losing their final pool match against France on Saturday.
England secured their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 39-10 victory over Argentina in Tokyo and now face a shootout with Les Bleus to determine who advances as pool winners.
Barring any further upsets, victory will put England into a quarter-final against Australia, while holders New Zealand would likely await in the semis. Should England lose to France, that would probably set up a knockout sequence against Wales then South Africa, pushing back a possible meeting with the All Blacks until the final in Yokohama.
But Jones is not focused on the various permutations as he attempts to lead England to glory on the world stage for the first time in 16 years.
“I don’t know, [I’m] not even looking at it," Jones said. "The only thing I know is we are playing France. I don’t know any of the permutations, I don’t know where the quarter-final is. It doesn’t concern me because all I’m concerned about is France next week.
“We are where we need to be and we haven’t played to our best yet – which is good, because we’ve got growth and that’s what this competition is about. It’s about growing, it’s about building, it’s about being right when you need to be right. It’s our next game, our most important game. We want to win every game. I think we can improve the team [against France]. That’ll be the challenge: how can we improve the team?”
England's fixtures and possible route (if they beat France)