Borthwick, who took over from Eddie Jones in December, has lost six of his nine games in charge, overseeing a 53-10 thrashing by France in March and England’s first ever loss to Fiji in their final World Cup warm-up last month, meaning they go into their opening clash against Los Pumas as underdogs.
Fortunately for Borthwick, England have been placed in what looks to be the easier half of the draw, away from hosts France, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland. So, despite five defeats in six Tests, they could (with a bit of luck) go deep into the latter stages of the tournament.
Who are in England’s group?
What is England’s next game?
England’s opening Pool D match is against Argentina this Saturday, followed by Japan a week later.
Who’s in the England team?
On Thursday, Steve Borthwick named Alex Mitchell and Jonny May in the team to start against Argentina. Neither Mitchell nor May were in the initial 33-man squad, but injuries to Jack van Poortvliet and Anthony Watson forced Borthwick’s hand.
England team to play Argentina
15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 26 caps)
14. Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 73 caps)
13. Joe Marchant (Stade Francais, 19 caps)
12. Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 53 caps)
11. Elliot Daly (Saracens, 59 caps)
10. George Ford – vice-captain (Sale Sharks, 85 caps)
9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
1. Ellis Genge – vice-captain (Bristol Bears, 52 caps)
2. Jamie George (Saracens, 79 caps)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 102 caps)
4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, 70 caps)
5. Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps)
6. Courtney Lawes – captain (Northampton Saints, 100 caps)
7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 45 caps)
8. Ben Earl (Saracens, 18 caps)
16. Theo Dan (Saracens, 3 caps)
17. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 82 caps)
18. Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 29 caps)
19. George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 3 caps)
20. Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 21 caps)
21. Danny Care (Harlequins, 90 caps)
22. Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 24 caps)
23. Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
England’s full Pool D fixtures and schedule
All matches on ITV1 unless specified
POOL D MATCHES
Saturday, Sept 9 - England v Argentina, Stade de Marseille, 8pm
Sunday, Sept 17 - England v Japan, Stade de Nice, 8pm
Saturday, Sept 23 - England v Chile, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm
Saturday, Oct 7 - England v Samoa, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm
What is England’s route to the final?
Based on current world rankings, England and Argentina should progress from Pool D. But discount a much-improved Samoa at your peril.
If England advance as one of Pool D’s top two teams, they will likely face either Australia, Wales or Fiji from Pool C in the quarter-finals. So far so beatable.
Indeed, it is only if they reach the semi-finals that England would have to play a team in the top five of the current world rankings. And in a one-off knockout match, it’s anyone’s game. Next stop, the final!
For the full World Cup schedule, click here.
How do I watch the Rugby World Cup on TV?
ITV have the exclusive broadcast rights in the UK, with the vast majority on ITV1. You can read our guide to the 12 best pundits and commentators working at the tournament.
The radio commentary of every match will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the US, the tournament is being shown on NBC Sports. In South Africa the TV coverage is on SuperSport.