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Ford: 'Tough stuff comes first'

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George Ford: 'It's going to take some real good discipline and sticking to the plan'

George Ford has warned England they must complete the grinding down process before looking to build a score against the USA in Thursday’s World Cup clash.

A feature of Japan 2019 has been the grit shown by tier two nations in holding out against their more established rivals, and Eddie Jones’ men have already experienced the determination of stubborn opposition.

A 35-3 victory over Tonga in Sapporo successfully opened the quest to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy but it was an underwhelming start as England laboured when confronted with the Islanders’ persistence.

Ford, who leads the team for the second Pool C encounter with Owen Farrell rested to the bench, insists patience is essential against the Eagles. “It’s going to take some real good discipline and sticking to the plan to get the result we want,” Ford said. 

“We need to put them under pressure and hopefully score a few points off the back of that. Like any Test, you’ve got to do the tough stuff first – in the first 15-20 minutes especially – to see where the rest of the game is going to go.”

(Continue reading below…)

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England face the first true examination of their preparations for the humidity of Japan on Thursday. When the Pool C showdown kicks off in the evening, the temperature will be 25 degrees with a humidity of 78 per cent and they have already been given an indication of the condition during the eve of match captain’s run.

Jones has prepared for the conditions by undertaking two heat camps in Treviso during the summer and after overcoming Tonga in the less oppressive atmosphere of the Sapporo Dome, they are braced for a more aggressive climate.

“Ball control is an area we’ll look to improve on judging by running around out there just now,” scrum-half Ben Youngs said after training on Wednesday. “It’s pretty humid and pretty slippery. It will be a good chance to test how well we’ve worked on that because training has been pretty minimal this week, just walkthroughs.”

Joe Launchbury, who will make his first appearance of Japan 2019 after being picked in the second row alongside George Kruis, insists adjustments will have to be made against the USA. “It’s more slippery than back home. Early on in the session, it got pretty wet, the grass was getting greasy. For us we’ll have to look to take the ball a little earlier,” Launchbury said.

“As a pack, we’ll probably have to catch the ball earlier rather than take it at the line. We really want to impress with our attack and keeping hold of the ball will be imperative to that, so we’ll need to adjust to these conditions pretty quick.”

– Press Association 

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George Ford: 'It's going to take some real good discipline and sticking to the plan'