England has made the World Cup final three times, losing to Australia in 1991 in London before reversing that result in Sydney 2003, then losing to South Africa in Paris four years ago.
Martin Johnson captained the side which beat the Wallabies and the lock who came to New Zealand as a young man to play rugby now manages England.
His 2003 team was dubbed Dad's Army and this one includes lock Simon Shaw, who turns 38 before the tournament starts.
Shaw was a replacement in Sydney and a key member of the 2007 side.
His size - he tops two metres and weights 122kg - could be useful in tight battles, starting with England's first opponents, Argentina in Dunedin on 10 September.
Shaw's not the only oldie. Hooker Steve Thompson's in his third World Cup while loose forwards Nick Easter and Lewis Moody and props Andrew Sheridan and Matt Stevens are among the other veterans.
England's backs to watch include Mark Cueto, the winger who went so close to scoring a try in the 2007 final, New Zealand-born league convert Shontayne Hape, fullback Delon Armitage, and the two metre tall centre Matt Banahan.
And Jonny Wilkinson, who drop-kicked the winning goal in 2003, makes his fourth World Cup appearance - the third Englishman to do so after Jason Leonard and Mike Catt.
Hooker Dylan Hartley is another New Zealand-born player, but former Wellington second-five Ricki Flutey missed out.
England also play Scotland, Romania and Georgia in their group.