England v Japan, Rugby World Cup 2023

England last played Japan in the 2022 Autumn Internationals – Getty Images/David Rogers

England and Japan have only met once previously at the World Cup, during the pool stages of the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1987, when England won 60-7.

In their two other meetings outside of a World Cup, England secured 35-15 and 52-13 victories over Japan during the 2018 and 2022 autumn internationals respectively.

England will be without captain Owen Farrell, who will be serving the last game of a four-match ban following World Rugby’s successful appeal against his downgraded red card for a high tackle on Taine Basham.

Billy Vunipola should be available, however, having missed the first match of the tournament owing to a ban for a high tackle similar to Farrell’s.

When is it?

England will play Japan on Sunday, September 17, with the match kicking off at 8pm British Summer Time (9pm local time).

Where is it?

At the Stade de Nice, in the city of Nice on the French Riviera. The city’s football team OGC Nice, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos, play their home games there and the stadium also hosts occasional Toulon rugby matches. For rugby matches, the stadium has a capacity of a little more than 35,000.

General view inside the Stade de Nice - England v Japan, Rugby World Cup 2023: when is it and how to watch on TV
The Stade de Nice before a Europa Conference League football match last season – Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Who is the referee?

Nika Amashukeli will take charge of this game. The Georgian was in the headlines this summer after awarding one of the first red cards using the new off-field bunker, after Owen Farrell’s yellow card against Wales was upgraded to red.

In an exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport earlier this year he talked about his experiences refereeing and being stabbed after a game.

How to watch on TV

ITV have exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. We will update you with specific channels for each match at the tournament once they are announced by the broadcaster.

Radio commentary will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What is the recent history between the teams?

Although this will be the first World Cup match between England and Japan for 36 years, there were Autumn Internationals fixtures in 2018 and 2022. England won on both occasions, 35-15 and 52-13 respectively.

What are England’s pool other matches?

Who is in the England squad?

England’s squad selection for the Rugby World Cup was severely disrupted by injuries and suspensions. Steve Borthwick named his 33-man squad on August 7. But after that date:

You can read Will Greenwood’s verdict on the men who have been selected.

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