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Rugby World Cup tips: England v Japan

15 Sep | BY Tom McGarry | MIN READ TIME |
Rugby World Cup tips: England v Japan

Tom McGarry's tips for England's second game include a handicap winner and anytime tryscorer.

England continue their Rugby World Cup campaign when they take on Japan in Nice on Sunday.

The pair both made winning starts in Pool D, with the Red Rose grinding out a 27-10 win over Argentina despite losing Tom Curry to an early red card last Saturday. Meanwhile, Japan battled past Chile 42-12 on Sunday.

Both nations will know that another victory will see them realistically move to within one win of progressing to the knockout stage.

However, after the confidence boost of beating the Pumas, Sunday’s match looks like a real chance for England to show they can run in tries when opportunities present themselves and that they are not beholden to their goal-kickers.

Easy does it for England

Japan’s win over Chile saw them run in six tries, a tally in stark contrast to England, who ground down Argentina thanks to George Ford’s right boot.

Attack has been an issue since Steve Borthwick took over but Elliot Daly has said this week that things are starting to come together on the training paddock and there were moments against the Pumas in which the Red Rose threatened to open up.

Daly’s presence on the wing gives him more freedom to roam and his ball-handling skills provide Ford with an extra pair of hands to use in attack.

England may not be as expansive under Borthwick as they were at times under predecessor Eddie Jones, but they will expect to start scoring tries. After the demands of beating the physical Pumas, Sunday’s opponents could provide more opportunities with ball-in-hand.

Having beaten the Brave Blossoms 52-13 last November, the Red Rose know they can find holes in their defensive line and can run away with the result.

England to try and build a score

Even if the game does open up, the situation dictates that it could be a cagey start and they could trade early penalties.

It is worth looking at the possibilities of successful penalties in the first 10 minutes, with building a score again likely to be a priority.

Ford’s first penalty against Argentina came on 10 minutes, while it is notable that even though England ran in seven tries in last November’s victory, their first score was a successful penalty by Owen Farrell.

The cagey nature of pool matches at the World Cup means Courtney Lawes is likely to point to the posts at the earliest possible opportunity and a successful penalty for England in the first 10 minutes could prove a decent play.

Go for Genge to cross again

A player who has received plenty of criticism in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup is Ellis Genge, with the loosehead prop failing to repeat his previous form in recent months.

However, he stood up to the Pumas last weekend and it was a surprise to see him named on the bench behind Joe Marler. Even so, he will be looking to punish any fatigue in the Japanese pack and could be primed for an impact role.

Genge was one of England’s try scorers in last year’s win at Twickenham and remains a dynamic carrier, capable of both punching holes in the defence and getting over the tryline.

The 28-year-old has scored six tries in his 55 Tests and, after failing to cross the whitewash in 2019, would love to add a World Cup score to his tally.

With Japan potentially vulnerable around the fringes, especially as the game goes on, his status as a substitute adds extra value to him burrowing over.


England to win (-22) @ 5/6

England to have a successful penalty in the first 10 minutes @ 5/4

Ellis Genge to score a try @ SP