The mood music around the England team has improved markedly since they beat Argentina 27-10 in their opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup – a victory achieved with 14 men for all the opening three minutes of the match following Tom Curry’s sending off.
However, there remain plenty of misgivings about putting too much faith in the idea that Steve Borthwick’s men have turned the corner and our England vs Japan betting tips are indicative of a tough day at the office for the favourites at the Stade de Nice on Sunday.
England vs Japan prediction
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High-score no shoo-in given Borthwick-era attacking limitations
Eddie Jones was still in the England dugout when Japan were brushed aside 52-13 at Twickenham during the 2022 Autumn Internationals. Such point-scoring exploits have been entirely absent from proceedings under his replacement Steve Borthwick.
In 10 games under the former Leicester head coach his team have put up totals of 23, 31, 20, 10, 16, 9, 19, 10, 22 and 27.
Their win over Argentina last time out came without a single try and while they were a man down for much of that encounter, but the same can’t be said for their two World Cup warm up matches against Wales, where they mustered a sum total of one.
George Ford was in inspired form with the boot against the Pumas and could continue to pile on the penalty pain for Japan, but England appear to lack a weapons-grade attacking cohesion at present and that should keep the scored down.
Japan can outdo their Twickenham scoring efforts on the Cote d’Azur
Since the start of 2022 Japan have played a dozen internationals and regularly illustrated their ability to put up decent scores against rugby union’s elite nations. Those included tallies of 15, 17 and 23 in three clashes with France and 31 against New Zealand.
England limited them to 13 in west London last November before suffering a prolonged dip in competitiveness that it may be a little presumptuous to assume they’ve pulled themselves out of.
Streaking back row a big price to go over again for Cherry Blossoms
Tokyo Black Rams back row Amato Fakatava looks to be the pick of the anytime try scorer betting on either side in Nice at a healthy 5/1.
The Tongan born back row ran in a brace in Japan’s Pool D opener against the Chileans taking his tally to four tries in his last four games for his country.