England score seven tries in Rugby World Cup thrashing of USA but Owen Farrell gets flattened by dangerous tackle

26 Sep

England secured their second win in as many games at the Rugby World Cup after over-powering the United States 45-7 in a match that was marred by a savage challenge on Owen Farrell that led to the first red card of the tournament.

Farrell, who was a second-half replacement at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, was attempting to pick the ball up off the ground before being struck with a shoulder charge by American flanker John Quill that caught him on the jaw.

This is the sickening moment when Farrell got shoulder-charged
ITV
The tackle unsurprisingly sent Farrell straight to the deck
ITV

The England captain crashed to the floor but was quickly back on his feet as a brawl erupted with Mark Wilson leading the shoving before being joined by a large group of his outraged team-mates.

Referee Nic Berry reviewed the footage and dismissed Quill, who could have no complaints at being severely punished for such a thuggish tackle.

Eddie Jones predicted that playing the USA would be like facing “15 Donald Trumps – aggressive, brash, ready to take on the world”, but the biggest challenge was dealing with the suffocating humidity in Kobe.

With the roof to the ground closed, the stifling conditions made for an energy-sapping encounter for which England had prepared with two ‘heat camps’ in Treviso in the build-up to the tournament.

Wing Joe Cokanasiga plundered two tries and it was a more accomplished display than the underwhelming victory over Tonga that opened Pool C, producing a second successive bonus-point win ahead of the key battles with Argentina and France.

England’s set-piece battered Gary Gold’s underdogs in the first half before they cut loose, expertly directed by fly-half George Ford who was named man of the match.

Ford scored 15 points in the match
Getty Images - Getty

Piers Francis was lucky to escape any punishment for a reckless tackle on full-back Will Holley in the opening seconds but otherwise Berry had a tidy match just two days after World Rugby released a statement criticising the overall performance of officials in the tournament.

The set-piece dominance England enjoyed was helped when 19-year-old Eagles prop David Ainuu was helped from the pitch in only the third minute after falling awkwardly at a scrum.

And the odds of threatening an upset lengthened shortly after when a muscular run from Billy Vunipola sucked in defenders to create space that was exploited by Ford in the next phase by running through a large gap.

England were playing at a high tempo despite the heat and were successfully stretching the US, creating a chance for Cokanasiga who was well tackled by Blaine Scully.

The kicking game superbly directed by Ford and Willi Heinz was serving them well but their discipline was far less on point after conceding four penalties inside 15 minutes.

A driving line-out sent the USA hurtling backwards so when England were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, Ford opted for touch instead of taking the points and was immediately rewarded.

Once again the Eagles were scattered at the set-piece and Vunipola was at the bottom of the pile of white shirts as the pack crashed over.

Just as their line-out was dismantled, England pulverised the underdogs’ scrum and from the ensuing penalty they launched another arrowing line-out that ended with Luke Cowan-Dickie touching down.

The half ended with Jonathan Joseph scooping up Elliot Daly’s kick only for Cokanasiga to drop the final pass as the line beckoned.

Successive knock-ons by Joe Launchbury interrupted momentum as the second half was launched with a series of English attacks, but the bonus point arrived in the 47th minute when Joseph performed an elaborate dummy to create the opportunity for Cokanasiga to drive over.

Cokanasiga caused the USA all sorts of problems
Getty - Contributor

The one-way traffic continued with Wilson, who had replaced Vunipola at half-time, making an impact through a series of purposeful carries and wing Ruaridh McConnochie was the next to cross as the beneficiary of some quick hands.

Lewis Ludlam pounced on a poor American line-out to restart the charge but with a four-on-one overlap down the left, Ford butchered what should have been a routine pass.

The Leicester fly-half made amends, however, by producing a neat step to enable Ludlam to cross before Quill was given his marching orders.

Having wasted another chance shortly before, Cokanasiga went over for his second try but the US grabbed a late consolation score through replacement Bryce Campbell as England were caught on the counter-attack.

There was one other match on Thursday as Italy went top of their pool with a bonus-point victory over Canada in Fukuoka.

The Azzurri scored seven tries as they ran out 48-7 winners to follow up their opening match triumph over Namibia.

Italy still have to face Pool B heavyweights South Africa and New Zealand.

Italy have continued their perfect start to the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Getty Images - Getty

England score seven tries in Rugby World Cup thrashing of USA but Owen Farrell gets flattened by dangerous tackle

26 Sep

England secured their second win in as many games at the Rugby World Cup after over-powering the United States 45-7 in a match that was marred by a savage challenge on Owen Farrell that led to the first red card of the tournament.

Farrell, who was a second-half replacement at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, was attempting to pick the ball up off the ground before being struck with a shoulder charge by American flanker John Quill that caught him on the jaw.

This is the sickening moment when Farrell got shoulder-charged
ITV
The tackle unsurprisingly sent Farrell straight to the deck
ITV

The England captain crashed to the floor but was quickly back on his feet as a brawl erupted with Mark Wilson leading the shoving before being joined by a large group of his outraged team-mates.

Referee Nic Berry reviewed the footage and dismissed Quill, who could have no complaints at being severely punished for such a thuggish tackle.

Eddie Jones predicted that playing the USA would be like facing “15 Donald Trumps – aggressive, brash, ready to take on the world”, but the biggest challenge was dealing with the suffocating humidity in Kobe.

With the roof to the ground closed, the stifling conditions made for an energy-sapping encounter for which England had prepared with two ‘heat camps’ in Treviso in the build-up to the tournament.

Wing Joe Cokanasiga plundered two tries and it was a more accomplished display than the underwhelming victory over Tonga that opened Pool C, producing a second successive bonus-point win ahead of the key battles with Argentina and France.

England’s set-piece battered Gary Gold’s underdogs in the first half before they cut loose, expertly directed by fly-half George Ford who was named man of the match.

Ford scored 15 points in the match
Getty Images - Getty

Piers Francis was lucky to escape any punishment for a reckless tackle on full-back Will Holley in the opening seconds but otherwise Berry had a tidy match just two days after World Rugby released a statement criticising the overall performance of officials in the tournament.

The set-piece dominance England enjoyed was helped when 19-year-old Eagles prop David Ainuu was helped from the pitch in only the third minute after falling awkwardly at a scrum.

And the odds of threatening an upset lengthened shortly after when a muscular run from Billy Vunipola sucked in defenders to create space that was exploited by Ford in the next phase by running through a large gap.

England were playing at a high tempo despite the heat and were successfully stretching the US, creating a chance for Cokanasiga who was well tackled by Blaine Scully.

The kicking game superbly directed by Ford and Willi Heinz was serving them well but their discipline was far less on point after conceding four penalties inside 15 minutes.

A driving line-out sent the USA hurtling backwards so when England were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, Ford opted for touch instead of taking the points and was immediately rewarded.

Once again the Eagles were scattered at the set-piece and Vunipola was at the bottom of the pile of white shirts as the pack crashed over.

Just as their line-out was dismantled, England pulverised the underdogs’ scrum and from the ensuing penalty they launched another arrowing line-out that ended with Luke Cowan-Dickie touching down.

The half ended with Jonathan Joseph scooping up Elliot Daly’s kick only for Cokanasiga to drop the final pass as the line beckoned.

Successive knock-ons by Joe Launchbury interrupted momentum as the second half was launched with a series of English attacks, but the bonus point arrived in the 47th minute when Joseph performed an elaborate dummy to create the opportunity for Cokanasiga to drive over.

Cokanasiga caused the USA all sorts of problems
Getty - Contributor

The one-way traffic continued with Wilson, who had replaced Vunipola at half-time, making an impact through a series of purposeful carries and wing Ruaridh McConnochie was the next to cross as the beneficiary of some quick hands.

Lewis Ludlam pounced on a poor American line-out to restart the charge but with a four-on-one overlap down the left, Ford butchered what should have been a routine pass.

The Leicester fly-half made amends, however, by producing a neat step to enable Ludlam to cross before Quill was given his marching orders.

Having wasted another chance shortly before, Cokanasiga went over for his second try but the US grabbed a late consolation score through replacement Bryce Campbell as England were caught on the counter-attack.

There was one other match on Thursday as Italy went top of their pool with a bonus-point victory over Canada in Fukuoka.

The Azzurri scored seven tries as they ran out 48-7 winners to follow up their opening match triumph over Namibia.

Italy still have to face Pool B heavyweights South Africa and New Zealand.

Italy have continued their perfect start to the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Getty Images - Getty

England score seven tries in Rugby World Cup thrashing of USA but Owen Farrell gets flattened by dangerous tackle

26 Sep

England secured their second win in as many games at the Rugby World Cup after over-powering the United States 45-7 in a match that was marred by a savage challenge on Owen Farrell that led to the first red card of the tournament.

Farrell, who was a second-half replacement at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, was attempting to pick the ball up off the ground before being struck with a shoulder charge by American flanker John Quill that caught him on the jaw.

This is the sickening moment when Farrell got shoulder-charged
ITV
The tackle unsurprisingly sent Farrell straight to the deck
ITV

The England captain crashed to the floor but was quickly back on his feet as a brawl erupted with Mark Wilson leading the shoving before being joined by a large group of his outraged team-mates.

Referee Nic Berry reviewed the footage and dismissed Quill, who could have no complaints at being severely punished for such a thuggish tackle.

Eddie Jones predicted that playing the USA would be like facing “15 Donald Trumps – aggressive, brash, ready to take on the world”, but the biggest challenge was dealing with the suffocating humidity in Kobe.

With the roof to the ground closed, the stifling conditions made for an energy-sapping encounter for which England had prepared with two ‘heat camps’ in Treviso in the build-up to the tournament.

Wing Joe Cokanasiga plundered two tries and it was a more accomplished display than the underwhelming victory over Tonga that opened Pool C, producing a second successive bonus-point win ahead of the key battles with Argentina and France.

England’s set-piece battered Gary Gold’s underdogs in the first half before they cut loose, expertly directed by fly-half George Ford who was named man of the match.

Ford scored 15 points in the match
Getty Images - Getty

Piers Francis was lucky to escape any punishment for a reckless tackle on full-back Will Holley in the opening seconds but otherwise Berry had a tidy match just two days after World Rugby released a statement criticising the overall performance of officials in the tournament.

The set-piece dominance England enjoyed was helped when 19-year-old Eagles prop David Ainuu was helped from the pitch in only the third minute after falling awkwardly at a scrum.

And the odds of threatening an upset lengthened shortly after when a muscular run from Billy Vunipola sucked in defenders to create space that was exploited by Ford in the next phase by running through a large gap.

England were playing at a high tempo despite the heat and were successfully stretching the US, creating a chance for Cokanasiga who was well tackled by Blaine Scully.

The kicking game superbly directed by Ford and Willi Heinz was serving them well but their discipline was far less on point after conceding four penalties inside 15 minutes.

A driving line-out sent the USA hurtling backwards so when England were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, Ford opted for touch instead of taking the points and was immediately rewarded.

Once again the Eagles were scattered at the set-piece and Vunipola was at the bottom of the pile of white shirts as the pack crashed over.

Just as their line-out was dismantled, England pulverised the underdogs’ scrum and from the ensuing penalty they launched another arrowing line-out that ended with Luke Cowan-Dickie touching down.

The half ended with Jonathan Joseph scooping up Elliot Daly’s kick only for Cokanasiga to drop the final pass as the line beckoned.

Successive knock-ons by Joe Launchbury interrupted momentum as the second half was launched with a series of English attacks, but the bonus point arrived in the 47th minute when Joseph performed an elaborate dummy to create the opportunity for Cokanasiga to drive over.

Cokanasiga caused the USA all sorts of problems
Getty - Contributor

The one-way traffic continued with Wilson, who had replaced Vunipola at half-time, making an impact through a series of purposeful carries and wing Ruaridh McConnochie was the next to cross as the beneficiary of some quick hands.

Lewis Ludlam pounced on a poor American line-out to restart the charge but with a four-on-one overlap down the left, Ford butchered what should have been a routine pass.

The Leicester fly-half made amends, however, by producing a neat step to enable Ludlam to cross before Quill was given his marching orders.

Having wasted another chance shortly before, Cokanasiga went over for his second try but the US grabbed a late consolation score through replacement Bryce Campbell as England were caught on the counter-attack.

There was one other match on Thursday as Italy went top of their pool with a bonus-point victory over Canada in Fukuoka.

The Azzurri scored seven tries as they ran out 48-7 winners to follow up their opening match triumph over Namibia.

Italy still have to face Pool B heavyweights South Africa and New Zealand.

Italy have continued their perfect start to the 2019 Rugby World Cup
Getty Images - Getty

Rugby World Cup pundits, including Jonny Wilkinson and Sam Warburton, made to remove shoes from Japanese-themed studio

24 Sep

ITV’s Rugby World Cup pundits have been banned from wearing shoes in their Japanese-style studio after it was pointed out they were breaking an old tradition.

Former international stars including Jonny Wilkinson and Lawrence Dallaglio were providing analysis in their demonstration area, which was covered with tatami mats.

In Japan, where the Rugby World Cup is being held, it is customary for anyone entering a tatami room to remove their footwear.

Viewers noticed their faux pas on social media during their first broadcast of the opening fixture between the hosts and Russia.

ITV were quick to rectify this and halfway through the pundits were seen without shoes while giving demonstrations on the tatami mats.

Former England captain Will Carling tweeted: “Slightly strange watching three ex players in socks and jackets doing a walk through on ITV. Different.

“If England progress… maybe later in the tournament they could be in black tie or even smoking jackets?”

England won their opening match 35-3 against Tonga while there were also victories for Ireland and Wales.

Eddie Jones’ side next take on the USA on Thursday at 11.45am in their second group match.

Ireland face hosts Japan on Saturday, Wales have a tough clash with Australia on Sunday while Scotland take on Samoa on Monday.

Rugby World Cup results sees New Zealand beat South Africa, Australia and France both win

21 Sep

New Zealand began their World Cup defence with a win against South Africa.

The current champions are aiming to win a third successive crown and remain on course to do so by winning 23-13 in Yokohama.

They last lost a World Cup game 4,368 days ago when France beat them in the 2007 quarter-final.

New Zealand fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, with George Bridge and Scott Barrett bagged the New Zealand tries, with Richie Mo’unga slotting 10 points with the boot and Beauden Barrett notching a penalty of his own.


Eddie Jones names strong team for World Cup opener

England vs Tonga will see Eddie Jones’ men face the heaviest player in Test rugby

Home nations preview, as Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales begin in Japan


New Zealand players bow to their supporters in Japan
Getty Images - Getty

“It was a heck of a Test match,” Kieran Read said afterwards, while head coach Steve Hanson said: “Today was a big game for both sides and fortunately for us we came out on top, but it was another titanic struggle between New Zealand and South Africa and hopefully people got excited by it.

“They’re never out of it, they’re always a team that comes back. The players took their opportunities and scored.”

France, the last side to beat the Kiwis in a World Cup match, held off a spirited second-half comeback from Argentina to win their World Cup Pool C opener 23-21 at the Tokyo Stadium.

In the Sapporo Dome, meanwhile, Australia beat Fiji 39-21.

RESULTS

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
France 23-21 Argentina
Australia 39-21 Fiji

Rugby World Cup results sees New Zealand beat South Africa, Australia and France both win

21 Sep

New Zealand began their World Cup defence with a win against South Africa.

The current champions are aiming to win a third successive crown and remain on course to do so by winning 23-13 in Yokohama.

They last lost a World Cup game 4,368 days ago when France beat them in the 2007 quarter-final.

New Zealand fended off everything a turbocharged Cheslin Kolbe and the Springboks could throw at them, with George Bridge and Scott Barrett bagged the New Zealand tries, with Richie Mo’unga slotting 10 points with the boot and Beauden Barrett notching a penalty of his own.


Eddie Jones names strong team for World Cup opener

England vs Tonga will see Eddie Jones’ men face the heaviest player in Test rugby

Home nations preview, as Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales begin in Japan


New Zealand players bow to their supporters in Japan
Getty Images - Getty

“It was a heck of a Test match,” Kieran Read said afterwards, while head coach Steve Hanson said: “Today was a big game for both sides and fortunately for us we came out on top, but it was another titanic struggle between New Zealand and South Africa and hopefully people got excited by it.

“They’re never out of it, they’re always a team that comes back. The players took their opportunities and scored.”

France, the last side to beat the Kiwis in a World Cup match, held off a spirited second-half comeback from Argentina to win their World Cup Pool C opener 23-21 at the Tokyo Stadium.

In the Sapporo Dome, meanwhile, Australia beat Fiji 39-21.

RESULTS

New Zealand 23-13 South Africa
France 23-21 Argentina
Australia 39-21 Fiji

England Rugby World Cup fixture sees them come up against heaviest player in Tonga prop Ben Tameifuna

20 Sep

Good luck, England. You’ll need it when you come up against Ben Tameifuna.

The Tonga and Racing 92 prop last year weighed 24 stone to make him the heaviest player in Test rugby.

Tameifuna, at 24 stone, is the heaviest, while Japan scrum half Fumiaki Tanaka is the shortest at 5ft 5in and 11.5 stone

Tameifuna arrived in Europe from Super Rugby in 2015. “When I came to France I was 148kg (23st 4lbs) so I’ve put on five kilos (11lbs),” he said in 2018.

When asked if that extra weight is muscle, he joked: “I bloody hope so. Mate, too many croissants and baguettes! Obviously I don’t have a six-pack – I look at food and put on weight!”

Eddie Jones has selected his strongest available starting XV for their World Cup opener, with Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler his front row, to take on the big-hitting Islanders at the Sapporo Dome on Sunday.

Tameifuna is the heaviest player in Test rugby
Getty Images - Getty

The coach has made just two changes to the side that beat Ireland 57-15 last month, with only Joe Cokanasiga and George Kruis missing.

“The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well,” Jones said.

“Our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion.

“They are a side that if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu.

“They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place.

“We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”

Eddie Jones appears to be going to the Tonga game all guns blazing
Getty Images - Getty

England Rugby World Cup fixture sees them come up against heaviest player in Tonga prop Ben Tameifuna

20 Sep

Good luck, England. You’ll need it when you come up against Ben Tameifuna.

The Tonga and Racing 92 prop last year weighed 24 stone to make him the heaviest player in Test rugby.

Tameifuna, at 24 stone, is the heaviest, while Japan scrum half Fumiaki Tanaka is the shortest at 5ft 5in and 11.5 stone

Tameifuna arrived in Europe from Super Rugby in 2015. “When I came to France I was 148kg (23st 4lbs) so I’ve put on five kilos (11lbs),” he said in 2018.

When asked if that extra weight is muscle, he joked: “I bloody hope so. Mate, too many croissants and baguettes! Obviously I don’t have a six-pack – I look at food and put on weight!”

Eddie Jones has selected his strongest available starting XV for their World Cup opener, with Joe Marler, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler his front row, to take on the big-hitting Islanders at the Sapporo Dome on Sunday.

Tameifuna is the heaviest player in Test rugby
Getty Images - Getty

The coach has made just two changes to the side that beat Ireland 57-15 last month, with only Joe Cokanasiga and George Kruis missing.

“The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well,” Jones said.

“Our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion.

“They are a side that if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu.

“They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place.

“We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”

Eddie Jones appears to be going to the Tonga game all guns blazing
Getty Images - Getty

England starting XV named for Rugby World Cup opener: George Ford at fly-half, captain Owen Farrell at inside centre against Tonga

20 Sep

Eddie Jones has selected his strongest available side for England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga.

The England head coach has reverted almost entirely to the XV that sent Ireland spinning to a record defeat at Twickenham last month, with only Joe Cokanasiga and George Kruis missing from that team.

Jones will lead England out against Tonga in Sapporo

The midfield that engineered a 57-15 victory that day is back with George Ford chose at fly-half and playing inside a centre duo of captain Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilag

Cokanasiga has been struggling with a knee injury and despite being passed fit by the England management, is unable to even win a place on the bench for Sunday’s clash at the Sapporo Dome, which kicks off at 11.15am UK time.

Instead, Anthony Watson has been given the chance to continue his strong form of the warm-up Tests by starting on the right wing, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly completing the back three.

Providing three-quarter cover on the bench is Jonathan Joseph and Henry Slade, both of whom have overcome knee injuries to take part.

Slade was unable to play a single minute of the four warm-up Tests but the Exeter playmaker is finally ready for his comeback as England look to launch the tournament with a statement performance.

Mako Vunipola is close to returning from a hamstring injury, so his deputy Joe Marler is preferred at loosehead prop and the only surprise pick up-front is Courtney Lawes’s presence at lock, with Kruis settling for a place on the bench.

Making a 10th successive appearance at number eight is Billy Vunipola. Either side of the big Saracen of Tongan heritage are flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill. Both are natural opensides but it is Curry who starts at six.

“The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well,” Jones said.

“Our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

Six Nations 2018: Owen Farrell to captain England against France as Dylan Hartley misses out
Captain Farrell will play at inside centre for England
GETTY

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion.

“They are a side that if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu.

“They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place.

“We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”


Rugby World Cup 2019: England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland preview as bids to claim the Webb Ellis trophy in Japan start


England team to play Tonga:

E Daly (Saracens); A Watson (Bath), M Tuilagi (Leicester), O Farrell (Saracens, capt), J May (Leicester); G Ford (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Lawes (Northampton); M Itoje (Saracens), T Curry (Sale), S Underhill (Bath), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), E Genge (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), G Kruis (Saracens), L Ludlam (Northampton), W Heinz (Gloucester), H Slade (Exeter), J Joseph (Bath).

England starting XV named for Rugby World Cup opener: George Ford at fly-half, captain Owen Farrell at inside centre against Tonga

20 Sep

Eddie Jones has selected his strongest available side for England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Tonga.

The England head coach has reverted almost entirely to the XV that sent Ireland spinning to a record defeat at Twickenham last month, with only Joe Cokanasiga and George Kruis missing from that team.

Jones will lead England out against Tonga in Sapporo

The midfield that engineered a 57-15 victory that day is back with George Ford chose at fly-half and playing inside a centre duo of captain Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi.
Cokanasiga has been struggling with a knee injury and despite being passed fit by the England management, is unable to even win a place on the bench for Sunday’s clash with Tonga at the Sapporo Dome, which kicks off at 11.15am UK time.

Instead, Anthony Watson has been given the chance to continue his strong form of the warm-up Tests by starting on the right wing, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly completing the back three.

Providing three-quarter cover on the bench is Jonathan Joseph and Henry Slade, both of whom have overcome knee injuries to take part.

Slade was unable to play a single minute of the four warm-up Tests but the Exeter playmaker is finally ready for his comeback as England look to launch the tournament with a statement performance.

Mako Vunipola is close to returning from a hamstring injury, so his deputy Joe Marler is preferred at loosehead prop and the only surprise pick up-front is Courtney Lawes’s presence at lock, with Kruis settling for a place on the bench.

Making a 10th successive appearance at number eight is Billy Vunipola. Either side of the big Saracen of Tongan heritage are flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill. Both are natural opensides but it is Curry who starts at six.

“The focus this week has been about getting right for Tonga. We have had a good seven days in Japan where we have acclimatised really well,” Jones said.

“Our sleep patterns are good and the physical conditioning of the players is outstanding. We have been able to add a bit more on our team togetherness and cohesion too.

Six Nations 2018: Owen Farrell to captain England against France as Dylan Hartley misses out
Captain Farrell will play at inside centre for England
GETTY

“Now it is about putting in a game plan against Tonga and it is important to be tactically right. We know they are going to be ferocious and full of pride and passion.

“They are a side that if they get a bit of momentum they can be very dangerous and are well-coached by Toutai Kefu.

“They have a great World Cup record and we will need to be at our best on Sunday.

“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t excited about getting out there on Sunday and there is a good feeling around the place.

“We are delighted to be up here in Sapporo and to play at the stadium will be a unique experience for us and something the team is looking forward to.”


 Rugby World Cup 2019: England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland preview as bids to claim the Webb Ellis trophy in Japan start


England team to play Tonga:

E Daly (Saracens); A Watson (Bath), M Tuilagi (Leicester), O Farrell (Saracens, capt), J May (Leicester); G Ford (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); J Marler (Harlequins), J George (Saracens), K Sinckler (Harlequins), C Lawes (Northampton); M Itoje (Saracens), T Curry (Sale), S Underhill (Bath), B Vunipola (Saracens).

Replacements: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), E Genge (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), G Kruis (Saracens), L Ludlam (Northampton), W Heinz (Gloucester), H Slade (Exeter), J Joseph (Bath).