Victory in Nice will go a long way to the Red Rose reaching the quarter-finals with the Brave Blossoms representing a potential banana skin having claimed the famous scalps of Ireland, Scotland and South Africa at recent tournaments.
George Ford’s impressive kicking in Marseille was vital to securing a morale-boosting win to open the competition, particularly as England lost Tom Curry to a red card early on.
Steve Borthwick faced plenty of criticism for his side’s approach to their World Cup warm-up games but there was a sense of steel, determination and guile about their demolition job on Argentina.
Japan smashed debutants Chile to open their campaign as they look to make another run into the knockouts.
Date, kick-off time and venue
England vs Japan takes place today on Sunday September 17, 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm BST.
The Stade de Nice will host the match.
Where to watch England vs Japan
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s game will be shown live and free to air on ITV1, with coverage starting at 7.15pm.
Live stream: The ITV website and ITVX app will also offer a free live stream service for fans online.
Live blog: You can follow all the action via Standard Sport’s live match blog, featuring expert analysis from rugby correspondent Nick Purewal at the ground.
England vs Japan team news
Kyle Sinckler has recovered from a chest injury and will start for England as one of three changes to the side that beat Argentina.
Joe Marler starts in the front row too as Ellis Genge drops to the bench, while Lewis Ludlam gets the nod at No8. Ben Earl shifts across the back row to openside flanker, with Billy Vunipola among the replacements and in line for his first appearance of the tournament as he returns from suspension.
Japan lost influential captain Kazuki Himeno shortly before their game against Chile to a calf problem, but he is fit to start against England in a major boost.
Amanaki Saumaki drops out as Jack Cornelsen shifts to lock, with Shota Horie replacing Atsushi Sakate at hooker and Pieter Labuschagne getting the nod over Kanji Shimokawa at flanker.
Tomoki Osada lines up at outside centre as Dylan Riley drops to the bench in the only change to the back division.
England vs Japan lineups
England XV: Steward; May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly; Ford, Mitchell; Marler, George, Sinckler; Itoje, Chessum; Lawes (c), Earl, Ludlam
Replacements: Dan, Genge, Stuart, Martin, Vunipola, Youngs, Smith, Lawrence
Japan XV: Masirewa; Matsushima, Osada, Nakamura, Naikabula; Matsuda, Nagare; Inagaki, Horie, Gu; Cornelsen, Fakatava; Leitch, Labuschagne, Himeno (c)
Replacements: Sakate, Millar, Ai Valu, Dearns, Shimokawa, Saito, Riley, Lemeki.
England vs Japan referee
Georgian official Nika Amashukeli takes charge in Nice tonight with Nic Berry and Andrea Piardi running the lines. Ireland’s Joy Neville will serve as the TMO.
England vs Japan prediction
Japan may have stunned some big teams in past World Cups but this side isn’t quite of the same level and they are certainly not expected to repeat the trick this evening.
Should England continue their front-foot approach and show off some more attacking confidence and discipline to go with their ferocious defence that smothered the Pumas in Marseille, then they should seal another comfortable win - hopefully with 15 players on the field for the duration after four red cards in their last six matches.
England to win with a bonus point.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
The two sides first met at the 1987 World Cup, with England comfortably winning 60-7. They also won 52-13 at Twickenham last autumn, bouncing back from a shock defeat to Argentina.
England wins: 3
Japan wins: 0
England vs Japan latest odds
England to win: 1/20
Japan to win: 12/1
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).