Rugby World Cup 2019: England use group therapy to heal old scars of World Cup failure

England's rugby players have been engaging in uninhibited psychologist-led honesty sessions to help heal the wounds of the 2015 World Cup debacle.

Billy Vunipola has revealed there were "handbags thrown" as the squad gathered to exchange candid views during training camps that took place in the build-up to their latest quest to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy in Japan.

Four years ago England crashed out of the World Cup they were hosting at the group stage following successive defeats to Wales and Australia, plunging Twickenham into crisis.

And it took a mental toll on the players that Eddie Jones addressed before departing for Japan by tasking psychologist Corinne Reid to run group therapy sessions.

"Eddie has definitely got the baggage out. It was something that was very important to us and it has probably freed us up a lot in terms of our relationships," Vunipola said.

"There were a few bumps in the road but like anything in the world - with your family and things like that - there are always mishaps.

"I think this is the first team that is willing to go deeper than saying 'I think you should have hit this ruck.' We have got down to it - and it has been good.

"You know Eddie will always look for things to improve us and that was probably the biggest thing we needed to improve - how together we can be.

"There were a few handbags thrown around but it was really good. She (Corinne Reid) gave us the platform to do it."

Captain Owen Farrell has said players dealt with the fallout from 2015 in their own individual way and for Vunipola it has been a galvanising force that he has taken to the Far East.

"And 2015 was massive because we went in with massive expectations on our backs and we didn't deliver. We've been a bit quieter coming into this tournament and hopefully for us as a group that's a positive thing.

"We know what the feeling of 2015 is like and we don't want to feel like that again."

Should England top their pool, they are likely to meet Australia in the quarter- finals as the Wallabies went down to Wales on Sunday.

But first Jones' men will have to beat Argentina and are considering fast tracking Mako Vunipola for Saturday's pivotal clash.

Vunipola has completed only 17 minutes in four-and-a-half months since damaging his hamstring on Saracens duty on May 11 after being forced to abort his comeback against Ireland in August.

"Sometimes you're better off starting with the adrenaline pumping rather than sitting on the bench," said scrum coach Neil Hatley.

"We'll know more Tuesday or Wednesday where Mako is. He needs to be the best version of himself and we know what he is capable of."


Join us for live updates of France v USA and NZ v Canada from 8:45pm Wednesday