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England vs Japan LIVE - Latest score and updates as hosts struggle against Brave Blossoms

Follow the latest from the autumn international clash at Twickenham

England v Japan: Eddie Jones explains how debutante Joe Cokanasiga has come out of his shell in training

A heavily changed England side takes on Japan on Saturday afternoon in the third of their autumn internationals, with Eddie Jones looking to get his side back to winning ways after last weekend’s defeat by the All Blacks.

Jones hands Bath wing Joe Cokanasiga his England debut while Zach Mercer makes his first start at No 8, with only four players being retained and just two of those in the same position in the form of full-back Elliot Daly and lock Maro Itoje.

George Ford comes in at fly-half to replace Owen Farrell and captain the side on what will be his 50th cap, but he will want to ensure that England do not suffer a similar fate to the Springboks in 2015 after witnessing Japan pull off one of the great shocks of rugby union. Follow the live action below.

What time does it start?

England vs Japan kicks off at 3:00pm on Saturday 17 November.

Where can I watch it?

The match will be shown live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main event from 2:30pm.


England: Elliot Daly; Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell, Alex Lozowski, Chris Ashton; George Ford, Danny Care; Alec Hepburn, Jamie George, Harry Williams; Charlie Ewels, Maro Itoje; Courtney Lawes, Mark Wilson, Zach Mercer.

Replacements: Dylan Hartley, Ben Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Ted Hill, Sam Underhill, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Henry Slade.

Japan: Will Tupou; Akihito Yamada, Timothy Lafaele, Ryoto Nakamura, Kenki Fukuoka; Yu Tamura, Fumiaki Tanaka; Keita Inagaki, Atsushi Sakate, Koo Ji-won, Wimpie van der Walt; Uwe Helu, Michael Leitch, Masakatsu Nishikawa, Kazuki Himeno.

Replacements: Yusuke Niwai, Koki Yamamoto, Aasaeli Ai Valu, Samuela Anise, Hendrik Tui, Shunsuke Nunomaki, Yutaka Nagare, Rikiya Matsuda.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's autumn international clash between England and Japan, brought to you from pitchside at Twickenham stadium.

With kick-off due at 3:00pm, we'll begin our in-depth build up an hour before, bringing you the latest team news and atmosphere from Twickenham.

But in the meantime, read our match preview here:

Jack de Menezes17 November 2018 08:13

With just over an hour to go, here's a reminder of today's teams:

England: Daly; Cokanasiga, Nowell, Lozowski, Ashton: Ford (c), Care; Hepburn, George, Williams, Ewels, Itoje, Lawes, Wilson, Mercer.

Replacements: Hartley, Moon, Sinckler, Hill, Underhill, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Slade.

Japan: Tupou; Yamada, Lafaele, Nakamura, Fukuoka; Tamura, Tanaka; Inagaki, Sakate, Koo, van der Walt, Helu, Leitch (c), Nishikawa, Himeno.

Replacements: Niwai, Yamamoto, Ai Valu, Anise, Tui, Nunomaki, Nagare, Matsuda.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 13:55

As seen, Eddie Jones has wrung the changes from the side that came within inches of beating New Zealand last weekend. Just four players have been retained (Daly, Ashton, Itoje and Wilson) while the likes of Joe Cokanasiga and Zach Mercer come into the starting XV for the first time.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:01

As for the visitors, there are a few names on the team sheet which might stand out to those with a particularly astute memory.

Captain and flanker Michael Leitch, wing Akihito Yamada and the brilliant scrum-half Fumiaki Tanaka all feature in today's clash, having starred in Japan's famous victory over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup. They'll be well acquainted with Jones as it was he who oversaw that memorable win as head coach of the Brave Blossoms.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:05

  ↵As we wait for kick-off, why not take a quick peep at this preview for today's match by yours truly: 

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:13

The team sheets have been doing the rounds in the press room and it seems there's been a late tweak to England's starting XV. Chris Aston and Joe Cokanasiga have now swapped wings, with the former positioned at 14 and the latter starting at 11.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:15

Player to watch:

Akihito Yamada - At 33 years of age, the wing is approaching veteran status with Japan. He may not be the biggest of players at 5ft 11in but he's more than proved his worth on the main stage, having scored 19 tries in 24 Tests for Japan. He's a prolific try-scorer back in Japan's Top 14 competition, where he plays for the Panasonic Wild Knights.

Japan head coach Jamie Joseph has spoken highly of the wing and believes he'll bring some much-needed experience to his side today.

"He has been in this situation many times before more than most Japanese players and He has more than enough experience to deal with what is coming at Twickenham," Joseph said.

"I've got this rule with Japanese players, you give them minus five years because they don’t play as much rugby as the English or the Kiwis or the Aussies so in my books he is about 27.

"He is a big-game player - a couple of years ago he scored against Wales (when the Welsh scraped a 33-30 Cardiff win with a last-minute drop-goal). He loves the stage and you don’t get a bigger stage than Twickenham. He is very confident in his own ability. He has got a big challenge defending against those big wingers of England but he is looking forward to it."

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:24

Player to watch:

Joe Cokanasiga - The Bath wing celebrated his 21st birthday with his first England call-up and starts today's match at 11. Jones has described him as "something special" - which is high praise from the outspoken Australian.

Cokanasiga was initially called up to the England squad last year, but failed to play on the two-Test tour of Argentina due to injury. There's been no such misfortune this time around, though.

Expect a powerful performance from the wing who, at 6ft 4in and almost 18st, will be more than capable of punching holes in Japan's defence. He brings a fearsome physicality to England's backline that has been missing for so long, and should make all the difference out on the wings today.

“He’s pretty excited,” Jones said of the 21-year-old. “He’s a quite a shy boy but he’s increasingly, in the time that he’s spent with the team, he’s come out of himself.

“There’s something a little bit special about him so we’re looking forward to seeing him play. He’s got power and he’s got pace. The Japanese wingers are very good wingers so he’ll have to be at his best.”

When Jones said he intends England to "smash" Japan, you can't help but think he had this young man on his mind.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:36

Just over 10 minutes to go and the players have finished up with their warm-ups.

There's some obscure DJ currently treating the Twickenham crowd to an "edit". Safe to say the well-lubricated masses aren't that impressed...

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:50

Twickenham doesn't look as full as last weekend's clash but there's still time for it to fill up.

Samuel Lovett17 November 2018 14:51

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