A COLUMN in The Daily Telegraph has argued that Scottish, Irish and Welsh fans should “swallow their pride” and support England in the Rugby World Cup.

Journalist and presenter Jim White said they should think for once that “it might actually be a good thing if England come out on top”.

It comes as England is the only remaining Northern hemisphere side left in the Rugby World Cup after Ireland, France and Wales lost in their quarter final matches. Scotland left in the group stages.

England, meanwhile, comes up against South Africa in the semi final. The other side of the draw sees New Zealand take on Argentina.

White said that he isn’t attempting to suggest there is “anything wrong with disliking England” given the “electric charge” such rivalries bring to the Six Nations tournament every year. But, he added: “Saturday is not a Six Nations encounter. This is the World Cup. This will be a match with a different significance to the annual local spat.

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“This is the competition which will decide where the epicentre of world rugby is located. And as such this might just be time to put aside the old divisions.

“This is the 10th edition of the scramble for the Webb Ellis Trophy, yet across that history, one of the home nations has reached the final a mere four times, winning it just the once.”

White also called for Scotland, Wales and IReland fans to remember the excitement for Lions matches – which sees all players from UK and Ireland combine and take on southern hemisphere side – and also get behind England for, undeniably, being huge underdogs against the imperious Springboks side.

White added: “Ultimately, though, the answerable fact is the home nations need an England victory. If nothing else, if you want to make the thought more palatable, look at it this way: if the side that came fourth in the tournament this spring makes it to the final, what does that say about the strength in depth of the Six Nations?

“And take comfort, even as you put aside all convention and cheer an England victory, in the knowledge that if the boot was on the other foot and it were Wales, Scotland or Ireland facing South Africa in the semi final, everyone of an English disposition would be cheering them on. Wouldn’t they?”

Such an assertion is hard to say with certainty, but certainly a bold claim from the Telegraph columnist.