Rugby World Cup: England vs Japan lineups – England not underestimating giant-killers Japan

England take on Japan this weekend, with the 2003 champions looking to avoid becoming victim to yet another Japanese upset. Can the Brave Blossoms do what they’ve done at each of the past two Rugby World Cups, and spoil the party of a tier one nation? We look at the England vs Japan lineups, breaking down who might star in this match ahead of kick off on Sunday.

England vs Japan lineups
Photo by Icon Sport

England vs Japan lineups and news

England surprised a few punters last weekend, gritting out a mightily impressive victory over Argentina, despite playing 77 minutes of the match with only 14 men. While it was the brilliant boot of George Ford that saw them home, Japan needed no such accuracy against Chile, dispatching the tournament newcomers with a comfortable 42-12 victory. Here’s the England vs Japan World Cup lineups are looking ahead of this match:

Team news: England

Steve Borthwick has named an unchanged backline from the team that defeated Argentina last weekend, while making three changes to the forward pack. Props Joe Marler and Kyle Sinckler move into the starting lineup, pushing Ellis Genge to the bench and Dan Cole out of the 23. Billy Vunipola returns from suspension and will warm the bench, while Tom Curry’s suspension sees Lewis Ludlam come into No 8 and Ben Earl shift to openside.

England lineup

15 – Freddie Steward, 14 – Jonny May, 13 – Joe Marchant, 12 – Manu Tuilagi, 11 – Elliot Daly, 10 – George Ford, 9 – Alex Mitchell, 8 – Lewis Ludlam, 7 – Ben Earl, 6 – Courtney Lawes (c), 5 – Ollie Chessum, 4 – Maro Itoje, 3 – Kyle Sinckler, 2 – Jamie George, 1 – Joe Marler

Bench: 16 – Theo Dan, 17 – Ellis Genge, 18 – Will Stuart, 19 – George Martin, 20 – Billy Vunipola, 21 – Ben Youngs, 22 – Marcus Smith, 23 – Ollie Lawrence

Team news: Japan

Just four changes for Japan after their 30-point win over Chile, with the majority also occurring in the forwards. Shota Horie, Pieter Labuschagne and Kazuki Himeno all moveinto the starting XV, pushing out Atshushi Sakate and Kanji Shimokawa. Jack Cornelsen moves to lock, in the backs, Tomoki Osada comes into centre for Dylan Riley.

Japan lineup

15 – Semisi Masirewa, 14 – Kotaro Matsushima, 13 – Tomoki Osada, 12 – Ryoto Nakamura, 11 – Jone Naikabula, 10 – Rikiya Matsuda, 9 – Yutaka Nagare, 8 – Kazuki Himeno (c), 7 – Pieter Labuschagne, 6 – Michael Leitch, 5 – Amato Fakatava, 4 – Jack Cornelsen, 3 – Jiwon Gu, 2 – Shota Horie, 1 – Keita Inagaki

Bench: 16 – Atsushi Sakate, 17 – Craig Millar, 18 – Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 – Warner Dearns, 20 – Kanji Shimokawa, 21 – Naoto Saito, 22 – Dylan Riley, 23 – Lomano Lemeki

Will Owen Farrell play today?

England’s captain Owen Farrell is missing from the England vs Japan lineups, courtesy of a suspension the flyhalf received during his side’s final Rugby World Cup warm up match against Wales. Farrell was given a four-match suspension for a dangerous tackle, which was later downgraded to a two-match suspension, meaning this will be his final clash on the sidelines before returning to England’s lineup.

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