Simmonds and Van Poortvliet to start for much-changed England against Japan

By Sports Desk November 10, 2022

Sam Simmonds and Jack van Poortvliet will start for England against Japan at Twickenham on Sunday.

Eddie Jones has named five changes from the shock 30-29 defeat to Argentina last weekend as they prepare to face Japan, who he coached between 2012 and 2015.

Number eight Simmonds has not featured for England since the Six Nations in March but comes in for Billy Vunipola, who drops to the bench.

Alex Coles is replaced by debutant David Ribbans at lock while Van Poortvliet, who scored within 30 seconds of coming on the pitch against Argentina, will start at scrum-half.

Jonny May also comes in for Joe Cokanasiga and Guy Porter is the final introduction as he is chosen to start over Manu Tuilagi at outside centre.

Owen Farrell will captain England and earn his 99th international cap, while hooker Jamie George is on the bench after recovering from a foot injury.

England team to face Japan: 15. Freddie Steward, 14. Jack Nowell, 13. Guy Porter, 12. Owen Farrell (c), 11. Jonny May, 10. Marcus Smith, 9. Jack van Poortvliet; 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. David Ribbans, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Sam Simmonds.

Replacements: 16. Jamie George, 17. Mako Vunipola, 18. Joe Heyes, 19. Alex Coles, 20. Billy Vunipola, 21. Ben Youngs, 22. Henry Slade, 23. Manu Tuilagi.

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    A penalty from D’Angelo Leuila got Samoa, without captain Chris Vui through a late change, on the board, but Matsuda’s kick soon restored Japan’s advantage.

    Michael Leitch added another try in the corner before Samoa’s Jonathan Taumateine was sent to the sin bin after a shoulder barge in the build-up.

    Japan hooker Shota Horie was then shown a yellow card for making head-on-head contact as he stood up in a challenge with Seilala Lam, which went to the TMO for a bunker review but was not upgraded.

    Samoa – whose final pool match with England is in Lille on October 7 – made the most of their man advantage, Lam touching down following a driving maul to go into the break trailing 17-8.

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    Japan extended their lead as Kazuki Himeno was driven over in the corner, but the usually reliable Matsuda failed to convert.

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    The 14 men battled on and pulled the deficit back again when Christian Leali’ifano dived over and then converted his own try, but Japan held out to set up a potential winner-takes-all showdown with Argentina in Nantes.

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    “Yes, and I’m happy with the feedback process,” he said. “Obviously, I was very frustrated and disappointed with the actions at the time, and it wasn’t the only time I’ve experienced that in this World Cup, but you’ve got to move on from it.

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