England vs Japan LIVE! Rugby World Cup 2023 result, match stream and latest updates today

England vs Japan LIVE! Rugby World Cup 2023 result, match stream and latest updates today

England vs Japan LIVE!

Pool D continued at the Rugby World Cup tonight as England contested their second fixture at the Stade de Nice. After a rousing, George Ford-inspired 27-10 defeat of Argentina that came despite Tom Curry’s early red card in Marseille, Steve Borthwick’s side have received a much-needed confidence boost after a horror build-up to the tournament. Another win this evening now has them firmly on course to go through to the quarter-finals as group winners.

Japan are always viewed by the heavyweights as a potential World Cup danger after huge wins over the likes of Ireland, Scotland and South Africa in recent years, though this current crop is not quite of the same quality and they notably tired late on here. The Brave Blossoms - who had major scrum issues as they were blown away at Twickenham last autumn - were very competitive but tries from Lewis Ludlam, Courtney Lawes, Freddie Steward and Joe Marchant broke their resolve.

Ludlam’s first-half score was a gift from a disrupted lineout, while Lawes had the presence of mind to play to the whistle after an inadvertent headed assist from Joe Marler that most assumed was a knock-on. England showed flashes of excitement when George Ford’s perfect cross-field kick was finished brilliantly by Steward, with Marchant crashing over for the bonus point with the clock in the red. Follow England vs Japan reaction at the Rugby World Cup live below, with expert analysis from Nick Purewal in Nice.

England vs Japan highlights

  • TRY! Marchant seals last-gasp bonus point

  • TRY! Steward finishes after cross-field Ford kick

  • TRY! Lawes runs through after headed Marler assist

  • TRY! Ludlam goes over after Itoje disrupts lineout

Steve Borthwick reaction

22:36 , George Flood

Here’s the England head coach speaking to ITV...

"It was a good game against a really good Japan team. We knew we would get the rewards if we kept doing the right things. I'm delighted for the players and the supporters out there. We want to make sure they enjoy it and have some good nights.

"The players have got to find a way to get the result. You saw a Japan team who kicked the ball 37 times, which tells you a lot about the conditions tonight. Whatever the plan was from the start, the players need to adapt and get the result.

"We will have a good debrief of this game. The first thing is for the players to enjoy this win. and then we have six days until we play Chile."

22:14 , George Flood

Here was the bonus-point clincher from Marchant at the death...

England 34-12 Japan

22:00 , George Flood


It was far from pretty for the most part, but England are two wins from two to top Pool D, bonus point in the bag.

A lotto work on, that’s for sure, but they are nevertheless firmly on course to reach the quarter-finals as group winners.

It’s minnows and debutants Chile up next in Lille next Saturday, when captain Owen Farrell will be eligible to return after suspension.

Expect Borthwick to ring the changes in that one.

Up next for Japan is a bit of a long break followed by the challenge of Samoa in Toulouse on September 28.

England 34-12 Japan

21:57 , George Flood

81 mins: The bonus point comes with the clock in the red!

Japan have been absolutely out on their feet for some time now and England’s superior fitness and bench options have certainly shown up here late on.

The pressure is relentless near the line and England finally get their last reward, Marchant going over after good work from the likes of Smith and May off the right.

Ford converts with the final action of the game. That’ll do!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England 27-12 Japan

21:54 , George Flood

76 mins: Young Saracen Theo Dan is on at hooker for the final few minutes for England.

Japan, meanwhile, have sent Kanji Shimokawa into the back row in place of Labuschagne.

England are still huffing and puffing in pursuit of that late bonus-point try, but it’s just not happening at the moment.

England 27-12 Japan

21:53 , George Flood

Here’s England’s third try, a lovely finish from Steward after the perfect Ford cross-field kick...

England 27-12 Japan

21:51 , George Flood

74 mins: That should have been the bonus point wrapped up for England!

Daly, Lawrence and Smith all combine beautifully as they charge forward with pace and menace down the left flank.

The lively Smith sits down scrum-half Saito with a bump and drifts inside, with England switching the promising attack right.

It’s another strong carry from the brilliant Earl, who then pops off to the supporting May.

Tired Japan’s defence look ragged, but, to their immense credit, they hold on and eventually get a pressure-relieving penalty.

A massive opportunity lost for England.

England 27-12 Japan

21:48 , George Flood

70 mins: Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence are on for England, by the way.

Off go Steward and Tuilagi, the latter of whom ITV point out had just three carries tonight.

That has to change moving forward if England are to have any chance at this tournament.

England 27-12 Japan

21:43 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

Ford’s pinpoint cross-field kick and Steward’s smart finish have wrapped this game up for England.

Ford’s fine conversion stretches England’s lead to 27-12. Japan are out on their feet and England now need that important bonus-point try.

England 27-12 Japan

21:42 , George Flood

67 mins: That’s exactly what we want to see from England!

Steward touches down brilliantly in the left corner after the accurate cross-field kick with an advantage from Ford, who then makes a tricky conversion.

So much more intensity and ferocity now from Borthwick’s men, who had driven Japan back over their own try line following the scrum to set up that chance - led by the determined Tuilagi.

Borthwick will be very content with that. Can they now go on and get the bonus point?

England 20-12 Japan

21:39 , George Flood

63 mins: Atsushi Sakate, Naoto Saito and Warner Dearns are all on for Japan.

Lawes off now for England, replaced by George Martin.

England 20-12 Japan

21:38 , George Flood

61 mins: England finally look more purposeful in attack now heading into the final quarter of this game as Ford is hauled down short of the line before a knock-on hands Japan the put-in at a scrum five metres out from their own line.

There was an opportunistic lineout steal from Lawes a few moments ago too, leading to a kick over the top from Ford that had Japan’s defence turned around.

England 20-12 Japan

21:36 , George Flood

Here’s that very bizarre second try for England in all its glory...

England 20-12 Japan

21:35 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

Joe Marler’s head takes the assist for England’s second try, with Courtney Lawes dotting down but expecting to be pulled up for a knock-on.

Japan expected the same, so let the England skipper walk in. Television officials saw the incident otherwise however, and awarded England the try.

Default does not really cover it, but England will hardly worry.

England 20-12 Japan

21:32 , George Flood

59 mins: Change at scrum-half and in the front row from Borthwick now.

England send on record appearance holder Ben Youngs and Ellis Genge for Mitchell and Marler.

England 20-12 Japan

21:31 , George Flood

58 mins: That’s absolutely world class from the fleet-footed Matsushima, who profits after an England attack breaks down, weaving past numerous defenders and tearing up field.

Only some good anticipation and positioning from May prevents one of the all-time best World Cup tries.

Japan’s promising attack ends with a whimper in the form of a frustrating knock-on from replacement centre Riley.

England 20-12 Japan

21:25 , George Flood

56 mins: This is an England try I think - and a totally bizarre one at that!

Ford whips a pass to Stuart, it goes backwards off his hands and then bounces forward off the head of unsuspecting fellow prop Marler in comical fashion.

Lawes very wisely takes the ball on and, not hearing a whistle, goes through to tap down uncontested, knowing that you can’t knock on with the head.

It’s given after a VAR check and Ford slots through the conversion! Japan furious - they felt sure that was a knock-on.

A bizarre, bizarre score, but England won’t care one jot.

There was a superb break from the excellent Earl - now sporting a Terry Butcher-esque headband after an earlier wound - to tee up that chance for England. He’s been great tonight.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England 13-12 Japan

21:22 , George Flood

54 mins: Mistake after mistake after mistake from England in both attack and defence.

This is absolutely wretched at the moment, that brilliant win over Argentina with 14 men already feeling like a distant memory.

Chessum is now pinged for not rolling away following a tackle as Japan keep ball in hand to crank up some pressure.

It leads to an easy kick slotted over by Matsuda. Japan just one point behind now.

England 13-9 Japan

21:20 , George Flood

51 mins: Billy Vunipola is being sent on for England now, in place of try-scorer Ludlam.

There’s also a change of tightheads as Sinckler makes way for Will Stuart.

Can Vunipola’s physicality and hard carrying inspire a bit of gusto and impetus here for England?

England 13-9 Japan

21:18 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

England fans are audibly booing Borthwick’s men for repeated kicking now. The feelings are being made entirely clear here in Nice.

England 13-9 Japan

21:18 , George Flood

51 mins: Japan have made some early changes in this second half.

The likes of Asaeli Ai Valu, Dylan Riley and Craig Millar are all on.

Two new props for the Brave Blossoms.

England 13-9 Japan

21:16 , George Flood

50 mins: Boos rain down from the stands as England get into another decent attacking position - the furious Earl with some particularly ferocious carrying - and then foolishly kick it away yet again.

Where is the creativity or attacking nous? It’s just aimless boot to ball time and time again. It just has to be better than this.

England 13-9 Japan

21:15 , George Flood

48 mins: Lemeki dots down over his own line under pressure from May after another searching kick from Ford.

Lemeki with the big goal-line dropout and here come England again, first through Steward and then Sinckler.

Japan’s defence standing up at the moment, but it’s all a bit last-ditch in terms of just the holding on in the tackle.

England 13-9 Japan

21:14 , George Flood

46 mins: The sheer frenetic pace continues as May almost gets away for England and then Mitchell’s kick over the top goes dead.

England 13-9 Japan

21:11 , George Flood

44 mins: England put Japan under pressure straight after half-time.

Daly was put into touch and there was a charge down of a clearing kick, with Ford kicking well into space to have the red and white shirts retreating.

It’s such frantic, frantic stuff as England try to bulldoze into the 22, but the ball is lost forward in contact by Steward.

A remarkable kick over his own head there from Japan scrum-half Nagare.

England 13-9 Japan

21:07 , George Flood

Back underway at the Stade de Nice.

No changes from Borthwick or Joseph at half-time.

England 13-9 Japan

20:56 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

A half of rugby so inept, so littered with mistakes, that it is almost as though last week’s win over Argentina did not happen.

England take the 13-9 lead into the break, but also surely a huge sense of frustration at another out-of-kilter performance.

England keep on pledging that their attack will click given time. Well that time is seriously running out.


England 13-9 Japan

20:51 , George Flood


A very disappointing half of rugby, with England leading thanks mostly to being absolutely gifted the only try of the game so far.

Huge improvement needed from Borthwick’s side after the break.

England 13-9 Japan

20:51 , George Flood

41 mins: So messy from both sides, this.

England drive with ball in hand towards the Japan 22, eventually earning a penalty for offside.

With the clock in the red, they point to the posts and Ford lines up a 38metre kick at goal with the last action of the half.

No mistake this time to give England a four-point lead at the interval.

England 10-9 Japan

20:49 , George Flood

39 mins: That is poor from England.

They claim their own lineout ball again and get the maul working, but Earl can’t connect with Ludlam and the ball pops up and hits George in the face.

Another opportunity lost.

England 10-9 Japan

20:48 , George Flood

37 mins: Matsuda hacks straight into touch following a scrum to give England decent position for an attacking lineout.

Fakatava is in at the side after England’s maul gets rolling, leading to a penalty that Ford kicks to touch.

Can England extend their lead before the interval?

Watch: England notch first try though Ludlam

20:46 , George Flood

Lewis Ludlam scoring England’s first try of this World Cup. And what a present it was.

Top work from Itoje at the lineout.

England 10-9 Japan

20:44 , George Flood

35 mins: Despite their opportunistic try, England’s attack is still really not firing in Nice.

Too many handling errors as they try to get Tuilagi attacking hard off the scrum.

It’s all got a bit messy in the humidity on the French Riviera, which is leading to some sloppy mistakes.

England 10-9 Japan

20:41 , George Flood

32 mins: Absolutely needless from May, who barges into Lemeki as Japan’s replacement full-back tries to chase down a kick.

Japan get the penalty from where the ball lands and it’s easy work again for Matsuda. Japan now trail by only one point, 10-9.

England 10-6 Japan

20:39 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

Finally England have a try at this World Cup.

Ludlam powers over after Itoje steals Japan’s lineout deep in their own 22. Not pretty, but England will not care at all.

England 10-6 Japan

20:39 , George Flood

28 mins: 10-6 it remains as Ford, unerringly accurate in Marseille last weekend, hooks a long-range penalty well wide to the right after Japan counterpart Matsuda is whistled for a tackle off the ball.

England 10-6 Japan

20:34 , George Flood

25 mins: After an uncertain spell, England suddenly score the first try of the night.

It’s a horror lineout five yards out from their own line by Japan, with Itoje getting his fingertips to the ball as he rises against Leitch (who is becoming Japan’s most-capped World Cup player ever tonight).

The ball bounces awkwardly off one Japanese player before being scooped up by the opportunistic Chessum, who is brought down just before the line.

Marler looks like he is going over next, before Ludlam drives through himself. Ford adds the conversion and England now lead by four.

So poor from Japan. Jamie Joseph will be furious as they had the lead and were cranking up the pressure.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England 3-6 Japan

20:32 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

England are in a game here and some of it is of their own making. Japan’s line speed and ruck physicality is causing more problems for England than they would have expected.

George Ford would not anticipate being charged down on a routine clearance attempt, but that is exactly what happened. England have tiptoed through the first quarter and must now ensure that does not turn into a major stumble.

England 3-6 Japan

20:31 , George Flood

22 mins: Some real scares for out-of-sorts England here as Japan attack with a penalty advantage for offside against Earl after a clever lineout over the top.

It’s hugely physical stuff from the Brave Blossoms, who are driving hard into contact and winning that battle as things stand.

Their work on the floor has been exemplary to set up these attacks, with Matsuda trying a little chip over the top that bounces off Steward before almost being collected by Matsushima, who knocks on.

We come back for the Japan penalty and it’s another simple kick for Matsuda. Japan lead, 6-3.

England 3-3 Japan

20:28 , George Flood

20 mins: A break in play now as both sets of players take on water on a very humid night in Nice.

England 3-3 Japan

20:27 , George Flood

20 mins: Heart-in-mouth stuff for England as Matsuda charges down a routine Ford clearance and gives chase deep inside the 22.

It’s great recovery work from Mitchell, but that’s sealing off from Ludlam. He’s very fortunate to get away with that.

England 3-3 Japan

20:25 , George Flood

18 mins: Japan have their first scrum test now after being bullied at the set-piece at Twickenham last autumn.

Not great at the lineout there from the Brave Blossoms as Lawes spoils their best-laid plans, leading to a knock-on.

England 3-3 Japan

20:23 , George Flood

16 mins: After a really poor and nervy start, Japan are playing well now.

They are content to repeatedly kick low into space inside the 22, putting massive pressure on England’s lineout defence.

Borthwick’s side escape on this occasion.

England 3-3 Japan

20:20 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

England were lucky to escape with leaking just three points after Japan blew a fine chance to score at the end of a field-length attack.

England gifted Japan the ball after a fine maul, only for Alex Mitchell to pass into Brave Blossoms traffic.

Japan had to settle for a penalty instead, with Rikiya Matsuda delivering to level the scores.

England 3-3 Japan

20:20 , George Flood

14 mins: England’s maul makes good yards, but suddenly the attack breaks down after an errant Mitchell pass and Japan are racing forward on a dangerous counter.

England’s defence - so suffocating in Marseille a week ago- is looking very stretched as some great speed and handling from Japan has them three metres out.

Fly-half Matsuda aims a cross-field kick out left to wing Naikabula, but he can’t bring it in.

The Brave Blossoms were playing with an advantage and they now point to the posts, a straightforward kick from Matsuda levelling the score from the tee.

England 3-0 Japan

20:16 , George Flood

10 mins: Here come England again, with Lawes and Daly trying to engineer a two-versus-one situation on the outside.

But it’s an important hit from Matsushima on Daly to dislodge the ball and stop them in their tracks.

Japan claim lineout ball again but it’s a poor kick into touch that allows England the chance to tee up another counter-attack as their maul drives forward.

England 3-0 Japan

20:14 , George Flood

8 mins: A lovely attack from Japan, who drive well into space at speed on the right after a deep run from Matsushima following the kick.

They put boot to ball inside the 22 and pile masses of pressure on Daly, who is quickly bundled into touch.

They safely claim their own lineout ball, but it’s superb work from Marler at the breakdown to earn England a pressure-relieving penalty.

England 3-0 Japan

20:12 , George Flood

6 mins: England needing no second invitation to kick so far tonight as Mitchell’s booming clearance bobbles over the Japan try line and is touched down by Matsushima.

It’s been a torrid start for Brave Blossoms full-back Masirewa, who is now down injured after a late push in the back from Earl.

He won’t be able to continue and limps off. On comes Lomano Lemeki.

Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli not interested in looking at that.

England 3-0 Japan

20:08 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

England put Ben Earl at No8 for a five-metre attacking scrum and shifted Lewis Ludlam to flanker.

A decent tactic given Earl’s power on the ball. The Red Rose men could not convert however, so settled for a three-pointer that Ford duly converted to start the scoring on the night.

England 3-0 Japan

20:08 , George Flood

4 mins: This is good work from England as they pile the pressure on following the scrum, using their big ball carriers like Tuilagi and Lawes to batter closer to the line.

However, they can’t quite recycle it again out right after Lawes is felled and with May screaming in acres of space out on the wing.

Japan are whistled for offside and England opt to take the points, to the frustration of a few fans in the crowd.

It’s an easy kick in front of the posts for Ford and England have the early lead. Japan very nervy early on here.

England 0-0 Japan

20:05 , George Flood

1 mins: Some attempted running rugby from England from the outset, with Daly aiming a decent kick that bobbles behind the Japan try line.

It’s a simple pick-up and dot down for full-back Masirewa, but he’s spilled it!

Oh dear. A needless knock-on under zero pressure from the Fijian-born back and now an English scrum five metres out.

Talk about an avoidable error. In the very first minute.

England vs Japan

20:03 , George Flood

Kick-off in Nice!

Can England take full control of Pool D with a second straight win?

England vs Japan

20:02 , George Flood

Much better on the anthem front tonight, it must be said.

That was more like it. Two stirring renditions.


England vs Japan

19:58 , George Flood

Spirits high with both teams in the tunnel as Lawes and Himeno lead out their respecitve sides at the Stade de Nice.

National anthems up next.

19:48 , George Flood

Final preparations out in a hot and humid Nice!


England vs Japan

19:40 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

So England will face Japan at Nice’s Allianz Riviera stadium tonight, in what are the most humid conditions of the World Cup yet.

The weather here is far more intense and close than even that of Marseille last weekend for England’s match against Argentina.

So England will need all their conditioning to hit the required pace and tempo in this clash.

England bludgeoned past Argentina last Saturday, but failed to score any tries. Boss Steve Borthwick is not bothered as long as England are winning, but tries are the order of the current rugby world.

So England will either have to buck the trends or buck up their attack in order to thrive in France.

19:39 , George Flood

More pre-match thoughts here from Steve Borthwick, who warns against underestimating an experienced Japan side and also hails England’s versatility in the back row with Lewis Ludlam in at No8 and Ben Earl shifting to flanker.

He is also pleased with the strength of his bench, which includes plenty of pace and power and the returning Billy Vunipola...

Borthwick questions World Rugby silence on red card inconsistency

19:31 , George Flood

Steve Borthwick is among the high-profile figures to question the officiating at this World Cup so far.

Some of the inconsistencies include Tom Curry seeing his early yellow card against Argentina upgraded to red after a bunker review and a three-match ban reduced to two if he completes tackle school, while similar head-on-head contact has gone completely unpunished in other matches.

Asked for his views on refereeing inconsistency this week, Borthwick said: “Are you saying there isn’t any?

“It has been said and noted that there has been a large amount of commentary from different sources about what appears to be a lack of consistency and transparency in the decision-making process.

“Now it’s not my role to comment on that, it’s World Rugby’s.

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(Getty Images)

“I also note there was a tremendous amount of comment from World Rugby on Owen Farrell for a couple of weeks during our preparation for this tournament. It was a situation that went on and on with lots of comment from World Rugby.

“I note there hasn’t been very many comments from World Rugby – I’m told – in the last week or so. I will leave that to World Rugby.”

Borthwick took a step back when asked if he wanted World Rugby to give greater explanations on their decisions.

He added: “It’s not my matter. It’s for World Rugby.”

England vs Japan

19:23 , George Flood

Standard Sport’s Nick Purewal at the Stade de Nice

Our man is in position and offers his pre-match thoughts from the French Riviera...

Challenge to RFU leadership threatens to derail England

19:03 , George Flood

A direct challenge to Bill Sweeney and Tom Ilube’s RFU leadership has threatened to undermine England’s Rugby World Cup campaign, writes Nick Purewal in Nice.

Chief executive Sweeney and chairman Ilube have been accused of inadequate leadership by almost half the members of the RFU council.

A letter signed by 30 of the 65 council members and sent to the RFU board on the eve of the World Cup has questioned Sweeney and Ilube’s leadership, especially over claimed forecasted financial losses.

Ilube has branded the letter and its timing “deeply disappointing”, with the RFU having expected full focus on England’s World Cup campaign.

Read the story in full here

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(Getty Images)

Fiji stun Australia to blow Pool C wide open

18:56 , George Flood

What a game in Saint-Etienne, where Fiji have just beaten Australia for the first time in 69 years to blow Pool C wide open.

The Pacific Islanders got 14 points from the boot of Simione Kuruvoli to go with a try from Josua Tuisova and another penalty from Frank Lomani to upset the Wallabies 22-15 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Eddie Jones’ Australia scored tries through Mark Nawaqanitawase and Suliasi Vunivalu - one player with Fijian heritage and another born and raised there - but could not avoid the shock.

They will have to recover fast with a huge showdown looming against table-toppers Wales in Lyon next Sunday.

Fiji now have a two-week break before taking on Georgia in Bordeaux on September 30, having come so close to beating Wales too on opening weekend.


18:44 , George Flood

The Stade de Nice is a fine if somewhat small major tournament venue, holding 35,169 for rugby and usually home to OGC Nice in Ligue 1.

It has hosted just the one game at this tournament so far, Wales’ hard-fought 28-8 win over plucky minnows Portugal in Pool C yesterday afternoon.

It will also host Italy-Uruguay in Pool A on Wednesday night and Scotland’s Pool B clash with Tonga next weekend.

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(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
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(Getty Images)

England vs Japan tactics

18:32 , George Flood

England kick away a lot of ball, which in itself is fine depending on what happens after that.

The problem so far has been that the Red Rose men have struggled to recover the ball, especially when kicking in attack.

If England continue to kick on the front foot, then it is high time they find a way to latch back onto the ball.


England vs Japan tactics

18:23 , George Flood

Another way to turbo-charge the attacking game tonight will be to move the ball at much higher pace.

England have looked clunky in attack, and part of that is based around the basic skills of catching and passing in one fluid movement.

England have the skilled personnel to make light of previous issues but can hardly afford to wait much longer to solve this concern.

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(Getty Images)

England vs Japan tactics

18:17 , George Flood

England need to speed up the time it takes to recycle the ball tonight, writes Nick Purewal in Nice.

All the top teams rattle through attacking rucks and it is time for England to follow suit.

The angle of entry to rucks needs to improve for England, so that one Red Rose player can take out two defenders at the same time.

18:06 , George Flood

The atmosphere is already building very nicely indeed at the Stade de Nice with just under two hours to go until kick-off.

Plenty of Japan fans have made the trip for their biggest game in Pool D.

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(Getty Images)
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(Getty Images)

Dallaglio: England must be smart to get best from Vunipola

17:54 , George Flood

Billy Vunipola has been a long way from his best when playing for England recently, writes Lawrence Dallaglio.

The last thing the Saracens powerhouse No8 needed was to miss further matches through red-card suspension, after a long knee injury absence.

The 30-year-old always needs regular rugby to find his rhythm, and England will want him involved as much as possible now he is available after his ban.

Let’s hope that he can find his way back to his very destructive best, thanks to the motivation of repaying his coaches and team-mates who have stuck with him during that ban.

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(Getty Images)

England need to add an extra layer of intelligence to the way they use Vunipola, both on and off the ball. It cannot be a situation where the opposition are just using Vunipola as tackle practice.

England must put him in the position where his involvements carry significant impact.

Steve Borthwick and his coaches could do worse than study old Saracens tapes and examine exactly when Vunipola receives the ball and when he does not. Use him in an obvious way and all they will do is put a target on his back.

Click here to read the column in full

England vs Japan prediction

17:46 , George Flood

Japan may have stunned some big teams in past World Cups but this side isn’t quite of the same level and they are certainly not expected to repeat the trick this evening.

Should England continue their front-foot approach and show off some more attacking confidence and discipline to go with their ferocious defence that smothered the Pumas in Marseille, then they should seal another comfortable win - hopefully with 15 players on the field for the duration after four red cards in their last six matches.

England to win with a bonus point.


Japan team news

17:45 , George Flood

Japan are boosted tonight by the return of influential captain Kazuki Himeno, who was lost to a minor calf issue shortly before the Brave Blossoms’ opening win over World Cup debutants Chile in Toulouse last weekend.

Jack Cornelsen moves back to lock with the skipper back at No8 as Amanaki Saumaki drops out, while at hooker Shota Horie replaces Atsushi Sakate.

Pieter Labuschagne is also in for Kanji Shimokawa at flanker, while the only change in the backs sees Tomoki Osada preferred to Dylan Riley at outside centre.


England team news

17:40 , George Flood

Steve Borthwick has made three changes to the England starting lineup that faced Argentina in Marseille, two of which are in the front row.

Kyle Sinckler is fit to start after a pectoral injury, while fellow prop Joe Marler is also called in as Ellis Genge drops to the bench and Dan Cole is omitted entirely.

The other change is in the back row, where Ben Earl shifts to flanker in place of the suspended Tom Curry as Lewis Ludlam starts at No8.

Billy Vunipola is on the bench after his two-match suspension, with Ben Youngs replacing fellow veteran Danny Care as the back-up to starting scrum-half Alex Mitchell.

With Owen Farrell serving the final game of his ban, Courtney Lawes captains England once more.

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(Getty Images)

England vs Japan lineups

17:34 , George Flood

England XV: Steward; May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly; Ford, Mitchell; Marler, George, Sinckler; Itoje, Chessum; Lawes (c), Earl, Ludlam

Replacements: Dan, Genge, Stuart, Martin, Vunipola, Youngs, Smith, Lawrence

Japan XV: Masirewa; Matsushima, Osada, Nakamura, Naikabula; Matsuda, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Gu; Cornelsen, Fakatava; Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno (c)

Replacements: Sakate, Millar, Ai Valu, Dearns, Shimokawa, Saito, Riley, Lemeki

Where to watch England vs Japan

17:33 , George Flood

TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s game will be broadcast live and free to air on ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:15pm.

Live stream: The ITV website and ITVX app will also offer a free live stream service for fans online.

Welcome to England vs Japan LIVE coverage!

17:30 , George Flood

Good evening and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live coverage of England vs Japan at the Rugby World Cup.

After getting a huge morale boost from their impressive, George Ford-inspired 27-10 victory over Argentina in Marseille last weekend achieved despite the early sending off of Tom Curry, Steve Borthwick’s side are commanding favourites to secure another win here that would see them firmly on course to reach the quarter-finals as Pool D winners.

But England will be wary of the threat posed by Japan, who were brushed aside 52-13 at Twickenham last autumn but are no stranger to a World Cup upset having dispatched the likes of Ireland, Scotland and South Africa in recent times.

The Brave Blossoms also made a winning start to this year’s campaign against debutants Chile and have potentially key showdowns with Samoa and the Pumas on the horizon.

Kick-off tonight is at 8pm BST, so stay tuned for all the latest build-up, live updates and expert analysis from Standard Sport’s rugby correspondent Nick Purewal, who is at the Stade de Nice.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)