Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Quick Hits: England to maintain strong start against Japan

George Ford
George Ford inspired England to a memorable win over Argentina in their opening game

England made an excellent start to the World Cup with a win over Argentina and Simon Mail expects this to continue against Japan...

  • England lifted by win against odds

  • Springboks off to solid start

  • Fiji to trouble Wallabies

England v Japan
Sunday, 20:00
Live on ITV

Ford inspires resilient England

England came into the World Cup with low expectations, following a poor run this year, but Steve Borthwick's team made a superb start against the odds. An early red card for Tom Curry against Argentina left England with it all to do but they produced an exceptional defensive display to win 27-10.

The architect of the victory was George Ford with the fly-half producing an inspired performance. Ford kicked all 27 points, including three first-half drop goals, to give England a strong platform for the World Cup. Argentina were abject but England deserved the plaudits for confidently handling the adversity.

Japan reached the quarter-finals of their home World Cup four years ago and the Brave Blossoms started this tournament with a 42-12 victory over Chile. Their team does not look as strong as in 2019 but they could still prove awkward opponents for England.

England still have plenty to prove, from an attacking perspective, despite their opening win. Their limited gameplan, with only five tries in the last five matches, does not lend itself to high-scoring victories and although they should secure back-to-back wins, Japan merit support with a 19-point handicap advantage.

Back Japan +19 to win @ 10/111.91

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South Africa v Romania
Sunday, 14:00
Live on ITV

Springboks off to strong defence

South Africa's World Cup defence is up and running after defeating Scotland 18-3. Pieter-Steph Du Toit and Kurt-Lee Arendse scored tries for the Springboks as they avoided a potential upset against their dangerous opponents.

The Springboks suffered a midweek blow after hooker Malcolm Marx was ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury. South Africa will expect a convincing win against a Romania team that were thrashed 82-8 by Ireland last weekend.

This is a complete mismatch with South Africa expected to dismantle their opponents. Romania conceded 12 tries against Ireland and another big defeat is likely. The Springboks' combination of pace and power will run them ragged and the defending champions can cover a 61-point handicap.

Back South Africa -61 to win @ 10/111.91

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Australia v Fiji
Sunday, 16:45
Live on ITV

Wallabies face stern test

Australia face Fiji in one of the most intriguing matches of the weekend and the Wallabies could easily come unstuck in Saint-Etienne. Eddie Jones finally earned his first victory since taking returning to take charge of Australia, with Ben Donaldson scoring twice in their 35-15 win over Georgia.

Fiji were involved in the game of the opening weekend as they gave Wales an almighty scare in a 32-26 defeat. Their attacking game was emphasised by Wales being forced into a World Cup record 253 tackles. Fiji defeated England at Twickenham prior to the tournament and will have no fears about taking Australia.

The Wallabies are 1.454/9 favourites for this showdown but Fiji will fancy their chances of claiming a major scalp. Australia are certainly not the force of old and Fiji started the World Cup seventh in the world - the highest ranking in their history. The handicap gives Fiji a six-point head start and the underdogs can push Australia all the way.

Back Fiji +6 to win @ 10/111.91

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Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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