Japan v England summer showdown: Details on the Test match and team insights

Japan takes on England on Saturday, marking their first ever Rugby Test matchup for these two teams on the home ground of the Brave Blossoms. The match is set for June 22, 2024, with kick-off at 2:50 PM local time in Tokyo (6:50 AM BST). Below is all you need to know about this encounter, how the teams stack up against each other and what to expect in terms of player lineups and result predictions.

Getting to know the teams

England’s preparation and challenges

England, led by Steve Borthwick, is gearing up for a busy summer. After this match, they have two tough games against the All Blacks in New Zealand, and it doesn’t get tougher than the All Blacks in terms of Rugby challenges. These matches on July 6 in Dunedin and July 13 in Auckland are key for England as they prepare for the Rugby Championship.

They’ve had to deal with the loss of some experienced players due to retirements and injuries, but they’ve still got a solid squad with the likes of George Furbank, who keeps his place at full-back, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Tommy Freeman on the wings, and Henry Slade and Ollie Lawrence partnering up in midfield.

Japan’s youthful rebuild

Former England coach Eddie Jones is at the helm of the Japanese side, a team focusing on building a squad for the future. They’re giving young players a chance to shine with some new faces in the squad. One standout is Yoshitaka Yazaki, a student from Waseda University, who will start at full-back despite not having any first-class experience. 

Captain Michael Leitch, centre Dylan Riley, and scrum-half Naoto Saito are the only three to have started in Japan’s last World Cup game. These key players will provide the needed experience to complement the rest of the squad.

Odds and predictions – England are clear favourites

Looking at the history between these two teams, England is the clear favourite. Steve Borthwick has won all eight previous matches against Japan, with the latest being a 34-12 victory at the Rugby World Cup last September in Nice. This strong track record and their need to gear up for the All Blacks make them the team to beat. Not to mention, they’ll be looking to get one over on old boss Eddie Jones.

The best betting odds available on Wincomparator also favour England. Japan, on the other hand, has a youthful lineup that may be lacking in experience but could bring some surprises. Japan’s young players will be just as motivated by the need to prove themselves on the international stage.

Both teams will meet once again in the autumn, the next time at Twickenham. For England, this encounter is a key part of their preparation for even bigger challenges ahead. For Japan, it’s a chance to see how their young talent measures up against a top team.

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