Steve Borthwick on England

Steve Borthwick on England

Steve Borthwick: “I think the first fifteen minutes was a real challenge. The speed at which Japan played and the way they moved the ball really tested the players. The players fought hard in the first fifteen minutes and were clinical thereafter and Marcus Smith was key to that.

“Given how little our backline has played together, I think the potential for building a great team out of that group of players is enormous. As they spend more time training and playing together, I think they’re going to be a very good side and they’re going to challenge a lot of teams.

“The performance level will need to rise when we face New Zealand in two weeks’ time. As will the discipline; you can’t give that many penalties away – we know that. You also can’t give New Zealand the space we gave Japan today

“At the same time, I expect our performance to go up a level. We had one session all together in England before we flew, and we’ve had one formal session in Japan since we arrived and got over the jetlag. So, I think producing today's performance after a couple of sessions together has been very impressive from the players. We will need to go up several levels and I expect us to go up several levels when we face New Zealand.

“When I first came to Japan in 2012, a few thousand people were watching Japanese rugby. What Eddie did to the team and Japanese rugby over those years was transformational. He had such an incredible impact and I’m sure he’ll have just as big of an impact now.”

Jamie George: “It was always going to be an interesting challenge considering the team’s history with Eddie Jones and the number of players that he’s coached in this team. I really enjoyed that challenge and what I enjoyed the most was the element of the unknown. It was Eddie’s first game with Japan, and I thought they were really good.

“There’s been a lot of talk about how they wanted to play super-fast rugby and I thought they did that. They were very quick to the ball and they moved the ball fast and when they play like that, they’re a difficult team to beat.”

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