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England look to defend World Cup Trophy

Rugby Football Union chief executive Francis Baron has admitted it will be a "big ask" for England to defend the World Cup this year. England have slipped down the world rankings since their 2003 triumph and have failed to challenge in any of the past four Six Nations Championships.

Baron is confident the team will improve under new head coach Brian Ashton but accepts this years Rugby Union World Cup in France may come too soon.

"There are a lot of positives that have come out of our performance in the Six Nations," Baron told BBC Radio Five Live. "We are going to the World Cup in a positive frame of mind but we know we are not the bookmakers betting odds favourites. It would be wrong to make any predictions at this stage. We are in a development phase. The squad that goes to France in September will give their all and I think they will do the country proud, but clearly, to win a World Cup no country has won it twice in succession and where we are with our stage of development, it is a big ask. But I can assure everybody we are going out there to do our darndest to defend the trophy."

Baron believes there are three main factors that have contributed to England's decline over the past four years; retirement and injury to a number of players, changes to the coaching structure and lack of an agreement with clubs over player release.

He feels the first two areas have now been addressed, with the discovery of some exciting young talent and the appointment of Ashton and new elite rugby director Rob Andrew.

The third is proving more problematic, with the RFU so far unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with Guinness Premiership clubs but Baron is confident the matter can be resolved.

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World Cup Rugby News - Rugby Betting Offers

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World Cup Top Tryscorer

Compare the latest odds on who will be the leading try scorer of the 2007 Rugby World Cup finals. Bookmakers latest odds comparison for the top try scorer.
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World Cup Special Bets

Most uk bookmakers will be offering a wide range of special bets for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. We provide full details on each and update them on a daily basis.
Special World Cup Bets

Bookmakers Free Rugby Bets
Free £25 Rugby Bet at Betfair

The betting exchange Betfair are providing a free bet of £25 for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Simply open an account and place your first bet and they add the free bet to your account balance.
Open an account with Betfair

Free £30 Bet from Paddy Power

Paddy Power are the largest bookmaker in Ireland. Open an account with Paddy Power and you can claim a free bet of £30 which can be used on the Rugby World Cup or any other sports event.
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Free £25 Bet From Totesport

Open an account with Totesport and have a bet on the Rugby World Cup and they will match this with a free bet to the same value, upto £25 per new client.
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