England face the first true examination of their preparations for the humidity of Japan when they clash with the USA on Thursday.
The World Cup title quest continues at the Kobe Misaki Stadium, where Eddie Jones’ squad completed the eve-of-match captain’s run – their first significant training session since arriving from Sapporo on Sunday.
When the Pool C showdown kicks off in the evening, the temperature will be 25 degrees with a humidity of 78 per cent.
England have 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.
“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 walk throughs.”
England players have been training in the humidity at Kobe Misaki Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)
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.
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“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.”
Youngs will equal Jonny Wilkinson’s record as England’s most capped back if he comes off the bench, but is more interested in Leicester team-mate Dan Cole reaching the same appearance milestone of 91.
Cole was dropped a year ago in a sign that his international career might have been over, but after being told the areas of his game that needed sharpening, the 32-year-old has travelled to Japan as one of two tighthead props.
“Dan has worked incredibly hard. To miss out on the South Africa tour last summer and then go away, reflect and work on the bits he knew he had to work on is a credit to him,” Youngs said.
“I see him day to day at the club and know how hard he’s worked on the areas that don’t come particularly naturally to him.
Dan Cole is set to make his 91st appearance for England (Adam Davy/PA)
“That’s things like his ball carrying. He’d much rather go around hitting rucks and scrummaging.
“It shows how much he wants to be part of the squad, how much he tries to grow and how much the coaches have invested in him even when he hasn’t been picked.
“He’s kept pushing forwards and I’m delighted for him because we’ve been through it all together and we’re still going now.
“For me, it’s really nice if I get some time on the pitch. It’ll be good for my family, but for me it’s just another game but one I’m looking forward to.”
– Press Association
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