LONDON (AP) — England maintained its 100% record against Japan by scoring seven tries in a 52-13 win at Twickenham on Saturday to bounce back from a lackluster loss to Argentina.
With a potential autumn sweep of losses now off the table, Eddie Jones’ team will go into year-closing tests against New Zealand and South Africa in much greater heart and, in Freddie Steward, a fullback in top form.
Steward scored the first of England’s tries by drifting along the line before taking flyhalf Marcus Smith’s pass and cruising over, and then played a key role in the other first-half tries — by Smith and Guy Porter — by showing off his running and aerial skills, respectively.
England, beaten 30-29 by the Pumas last weekend, led 24-6 at halftime and added more tries in the opening 10 minutes of the second half through prop Ellis Genge and Porter, the inside center who was only playing because Jones is managing Manu Tuilagi’s workload.
By then, the Brave Blossoms had only registered two penalties by flyhalf Takuya Yamasawa and they got their only try of the game in the 59th when replacement Naoto Saito collected Warner Dearns’ offload to go over near the uprights.
There was still time for England’s big pack to earn a penalty try after Siosaia Fifita illegally brought down a maul that had trundled over the tryline.
Fifita was sin-binned for his troubles and, with Japan down to 14 players for the remainder of the test, Smith added a seventh and final try when Steward hacked on a kick following an England break and Smith collected to go over.
Owen Farrell converted all seven tries to go with his early penalty, for a 17-point haul.
“We didn’t think too much — sometimes when you come together for the first game in a while you overthink things," Farrell said, referencing the loss to Argentina. “We wanted to show the best of ourselves.”
It was Eddie Jones’ 59th win as England coach, tying the record of Clive Woodward, and England has now won all 10 of its test matches against Japan since the first in 1971.
“We were outplayed today and put under a lot of pressure," Japan coach Jamie Joseph said. “We conceded a lot of penalties. It’s hard to get momentum against a very good defense.”
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