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England flew out of Heathrow on Sunday night ready to launch their World Cup crusade by dodging storms on arrival in Tokyo – and throughout their campaign in the Far East.
While Eddie Jones and his squad were airborne, Typhoon Faxai was bearing down on Japan’s capital city, with winds in excess of 100mph forecast to batter the east coast of the country.
Australia had their flight from Sydney cancelled but England departed on schedule, with all 31 players on board, despite further injury problems occurring during Friday night’s warm-up win over Italy in Newcastle.
England squad and staff pose for a photo before flying out to Japan for the Rugby World Cup
Volatile weather conditions could be a factor throughout the tournament but England are mindful of the need to avoid turbulence of their own making. In 2011, the team’s on-field hopes were chronically undermined by off-field controversy and the class of 2019 are determined to heed those lessons, without being reclusive.
Jones has recently encouraged his players to forge closer bonds by socialising together and hooker Jamie George emphasised the need to strike a careful balance, saying: ‘We are away for a long time so we need to be able to let our hair down,’ he said.
‘We don’t want to be the team that is in the headlines,
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