Japan 17 England 52: Red Rose romp to massive win to kick off summer tour against old boss Eddie Jones


Marcus Smith proved a vote-winner at No10 before giving Steve Borthwick an injury scare as England’s tour got off to a flyer.

But Charlie Ewels’ tour could be over after he was red-carded for a dangerous clear-out with seven minutes left.

England had eight different try scorers against JapanEPA

It was an impressive display from the Red RoseEPA

Eddie Jones’ Japan side were humbled by his old team EnglandGetty

Ewels becomes the first man to get sent off twice for England after his dismissal against Ireland in 2022 – his last Test for the Red Rose.

Smith went down clutching his leg after 54 minutes and was then shown a yellow card when he was on the deck.

He managed to limp to the sidelines and was replaced when his 10 minutes in the sin-bin were up, though he was walking around the pitch at the end of the game.

Harlequins’ Smith showed he is the man to face the All Blacks and demonstrated to former England boss Eddie Jones he is at Test level after being messed around when the Aussie was in charge at Twickenham.

With George Ford injured and Owen Farrell out of the way, Smith showed he is the man to lead England forward from fly-half.

Smith grabbed hold of this game in the second quarter when England had looked like rabbits in headlights for the opening exchanges.

And by half-time he had killed it stone dead as a contest by scoring one and making two of four tries for the tourists.

A brilliant line out move saw Smith scamper over from 30 metres out, before a long pass for Immanuel Weyi-Waboso and a cross-kick for Henry Slade made it 26-3.


Smith’s own try was straight off the training pitch with Ollie Lawrence taking the ball, finding Alex Mitchell, before the fly-half sidestepped the defence.

Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth was then seen screaming Smith home from the coaches box – and that is a feather in his cap too.

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Jones spent Thursday’s team announcement refusing to get involved in a war of words with England, but the old fox had something up his sleeve.

He probably thought he had won the mind games and had the tourists on the run when Borthwick went 48 hours early in naming his team.

And for 15 minutes his team had England on the run in the 30-plus degree heat of Tokyo.

On 19 minutes the visitors had icy towels brought on to bring down the temperature… then Smith turned up the heat on Japan.

Say what you like about Jones, and plenty do, but he can coach a rugby team and for the first quarter his side were all over England like a rash.

This was the first game of Jones’ second era with Japan and he had his side fizzing from the off as England were slow out of the blocks.

The visitors[ blitz defence was blindsided by the hosts and Borthwick’s men were caught flat-footed.

Japan fly-half Seungsin Lee gave his side a three-point lead when George Martin was done for not rolling away and only Chandler Cunningham-South’s massive hit derailed a score for winger Jone Naikabula.

Then England got into the swing of things with Cunningham-South barged over to make it 7-3 before Smith took control of the game.

They led 26-3 at half-time and although they conceded a couple of tries when the bench was emptied, it was a pretty routine win.

There are bigger tests to come in New Zealand but Ewels might not be there.

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Japan: Tries: Nezuka, Yamasawa; Cons: Matsuda (2); Pen: Lee

England: Tries: Cunningham-South, M.Smith, Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Mitchell, Earl, Randall, Underhill; Cons: M.Smith (4), Slade (2)

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