Steve Borthwick stands by England's approach to win in a close match against Japan.

Players must adjust their strategy as needed.

September 17th 2023.

Steve Borthwick stands by England's approach to win in a close match against Japan.
Steve Borthwick's England side laboured to a 34-12 win over Japan on Sunday, and the head coach was full of praise for his players' adaptability. Despite last week's impressive win over Argentina, England had to find a new way to get the result against the Brave Blossoms.

The game saw a stroke of good fortune when flyhalf George Ford's pass ricocheted off Will Stuart's arm and Joe Marler's mohawk into the arms of captain Courtney Lawes who strolled in between the posts for a 20-12 lead.

Moments later, Japan had a chance to bridge the gap but knocked on with the line in sight. England capitalised with a third try shortly after as Ford sent a clever crosskick from right to left for Freddie Steward to catch and twist in the corner.

Finally, a late break from Jonny May created space for Joe Marchant who went over for the bonus-point fourth try.

Borthwick was quick to defend his side's kicking tactics, telling ITV Sport: "You saw this Japan team kick the ball 37 times which is very unusual for a Japan team. It tells you a bit around the conditions and nature of the game tonight. The players had to find a way to get the result - whatever the plan was at the start, they needed to adapt and get the result, and they did that."

He added: "We're delighted with the result, we had to work hard for it. We know you get your rewards if you keep doing the right things. We'll have a good debrief of this game and get some good analysis of what we've got to do going forward. The first thing now is for the players to enjoy this win."

England remain in command at the top of Group D but as they look ahead to the knockout stages, they will need to ensure that their overreliance on the boot does not come back to haunt them.

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