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Maro Itoje launched England’s World Cup campaign with a speech in Japanese – then spelt out in plain English the immediate threat they face.
Itoje did not beat about the bush when sizing up the challenge posed by Tonga in Sapporo on Sunday.
He said that playing alongside Billy and Mako Vunipola at Saracens had taught him all he needs to know about the destructive power of pacific island players.
“We have two boys of Tongan heritage in our team and I’ve seen what those two have done to people,” said the lock star.
“It can be dangerous if you allow it to be. Tonga are an incredibly physical side. From one to 31 they have big boys who are aggressive and have huge athleticism as well.”
England are massive favourites to beat a nation with a population of just 108,000 which ranks 12 places below Eddie Jones’ side.
But so too were England against another island nation Fiji in the opening game of the last World Cup – and made dreadfully hard work of beating them.
“Tonga will definitely be up f
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