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England kicks off tour with fine win over Japan

Match Report: England beat Japan 52-17 in their first-ever Test match in Tokyo on Saturday.


England scored eight tries to secure victory over a Japan side coached by former England coach Eddie Jones.

Japan started fast in hot and humid conditions as Seungsin Lee’s penalty handed them an early lead, but England hit back through a strong finish by Chandler Cunningham-Smith on his first Test start.

Marcus Smith then stepped up in what can be seen as a clear message to claim the No. 10 jersey with a superb performance.

England replacement lock Charlie Ewels was sent off for a dangerous tackle early in the match and the yellow card was later upgraded to a red by the TMO ‘bunker’.

He becomes the first player to be sent off twice for England. He was also sent off against Ireland during the 2022 Six Nations.

Ironically the try of the match came as Japan lock Warner Dearns grabbed a loose ball out of the air with one hand before striding clear before popping it to Samisoni Tua for Japan’s second try.


Japan put England under pressure early on but England kept them out and scored every time they went into the 22.

It was a hard, fast game that will do England a favour in terms of fitness.

The focus will be starting the game better in New Zealand. Japan controlled the start but didn’t take their chances. That won’t happen against the All Blacks.


England now travel to New Zealand for a two-Test series, the first game being on July 6 and the second a week later on July 13.


For Japan:
Tries: Nezuka, Tua
Cons: Matsuda 2
Pens: Lee

For England:
Tries: Cunningham-South, Smith, Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Mitchell, Earl, Randall, Underhill
Cons: Smith 4, Slade 2


Japan: 15 Yoshitaka Yazaki, 14 Jone Naikabula, 13 Dylan Riley, 12 Tomoki Osada, 11 Koga Nezuka, 10 Seungsin Lee, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Faulua Makisi, 7 Tiennan Costley, 6 Michael Leitch (captain), 5 Warner Dearns, 4 Sanaila Waqa, 3 Shuhei Takeuchi, 2 Mamoru Harada, 1 Takayoshi Mohara.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shogo Miura, 18 Keijiro Tamefusa, 19 Amanaki Saumaki, 20 Kai Yamamoto, 21 Shinobu Fujiwara, 22 Rikiya Matsuda, 23 Samisoni Tua.

England: 15 George Furbank, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chandler Cunningham-South, 5 George Martin, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Fin Smith, 23 Tom Roebuck.

Referee: Luc Ramos (France)
Assistant referees: Eoghan Cross (Ireland), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

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