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England-Japan: the favorites and favorites of our special correspondent

From our special correspondent in Nice.

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England-Japan: the favorites and favorites of our special correspondent

From our special correspondent in Nice


Hero of the match against Argentina with 27 points scored, including three drops, George Ford had tamed the Pumas almost single-handedly. Less successful this Sunday evening, the flyhalf replacing Owen Farrell (still suspended) still scored 14 points and offered, with a perfectly measured kick, a caviar to his fullback Freddie Steward for the third English try ( 66th). The latter can count on a first-class scorer. It's already that.

Unable to score a try in its first match against Argentina, England was able to get an offensive bonus on the wire thanks to the three-quarter center from Stade Français Joe Marchant (81st). The score was not perfect, far from it. The false notes multiplied in the first period but after the break and more in rhythm, Steve Borthwick's men took the physical upper hand over the valiant Japanese, quite limited, it must be said. Lawes' controversial essay was a turning point, the Japanese never recovered. And the XV de la Rose finally stung thanks above all to its efficiency, its occupation of the field and its defense as solid as ever (zero tries conceded in two matches).

The supporters of both teams were able to create a wonderful atmosphere in a very beautiful setting. Special mention to the English, noisier than their Welsh enemy the day before against Portugal. Coming in large numbers, they sang several times the famous “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and covered the no less famous “Don’t stop me now” by Queen. And the much smaller number of Japanese supporters were able to make themselves heard in a stadium which was not sold out. Annoyed by the lack of offensive ambition of their team, the patient English fans did not hesitate to whistle the XV de la Rose, for so long so uninspired. Noise all the way.


Another failure for the Japanese who lost to the English for the ninth time in as many confrontations. However, there was room. But Joseph's men are clearly less efficient than four years ago when they reached the quarter-finals at home, knocking out Scotland and Ireland. Japan, which suffered nine defeats in its last ten matches, before dominating modest Chile without shining, made too many defensive and offensive inaccuracies to create the feat. Too many offensive opportunities wasted by repeated advances and no attempt to get our teeth into. Matsushima's fantastic breakthrough was spoiled by another fatal forward from Valu in the opposing 22 meters... It wasn't raining in Nice this Sunday evening but the ball slipped too much from the Japanese hands... And what can we say about the defensive blunders . Masirewa made one at the start of the match, offering the English a scrum from 5 meters. And above all, there was this beautiful gift to the XV de la Rose. Two Japanese players got in the way in front of their goal and stupidly handed the ball back. Ludlam did not need to be asked and flattened in stride (25th).

A nice purge. Hand faults on both sides. We were really bored during the first 40 minutes. We were far from the spectacle offered the day before by the amazing Portuguese! It was not the English walk at the Allianz Riveira this evening, but it was not a great spectacle on the Japanese side either, whose fiery hand play has often delighted in the past. After the break it was slightly better, as the English showed more ambition.

Solid in conquest, the XV de la Rose had to show more offensively than during their first meeting, which they won without scoring a single try. Partially failed despite four attempts. Against the Japanese, they generally occupied the pitch well and had possession. But above all they unlocked the counter by taking advantage of a huge ball from the Japanese. Their offensive game was still too messy. They tried to play quickly out wide. Without success. The advances have multiplied. After the break, the English tried to add more rhythm but messed up again. And it was on a contentious action that they scored a second, somewhat gag try (57th). Captain Lawes, inheriting the leather after it bounced off... Joe Marler's head, following a hand fault from Stuart (57th). The referee used the video to check a forward from Stuart and considered that the try was valid (57th). The successful end of the match masks its recurring difficulties in the game. England is still in doubt. Fortunately for her, first place in her group is almost promised to her…

Small consolation: Steve Borthwick's men did not see red this time. Indiscipline being a nasty habit among them. Tom Curry, against Argentina, having been the first red card of the competition. They multiply the mistakes as their supporters chain their beers. This Sunday, the English XV notably committed a stupid one with a tackle without the ball from Jonny May which allowed the Japanese to obtain a winning penalty (32nd). Or the second line Chessum made a mistake in a ruck, offering another penalty transformed by Matsuda who brought his team to a point (13-12) in the 54th...

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