ngland were blown away by the fervent support they received at Stade Velodrome in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup win over Argentina.
Steve Borthwick’s men prevailed 27-10 in Marseille, but what started as a hostile atmosphere among scores of Pumas fans turned into a sea of white shirts.
England’s players and coaches were acutely aware of the frustrations of supporters after three defeats in four warm-up matches in August.
Head coach Borthwick’s side slipped to a new low with their first-ever defeat by Fiji, the 30-22 loss at Twickenham on Saturday, August 26.
The Red Rose men roared back to dismiss Argentina however, and bring the support right back on side.
England were grateful for continued backing even during that lean August, but were then bowled over by the ferocity and volume of support in Marseille.
“The crowd was huge out there for us, it was my first ever Rugby World Cup game and to experience that was massive for us all,” said centre Ollie Lawrence.
“To experience that crowd and to see all the England faces and fans that we had there, it was a massive support for us.
“They definitely got behind us and helped push us over the line.”
England will face Japan in Nice on Sunday aiming to take early control of Pool D with a second victory in as many weeks.
Bath centre Lawrence insisted England will not take Japan lightly, especially given their history of World Cup upsets.
The 2023 Japan vintage may not be as strong as the Brave Blossoms that beat South Africa in 2015 or Ireland and Scotland in 2019, but England are refusing to view Jamie Joseph’s side any differently.
“They like to move the ball about, we’ve identified that about how they play,” said Lawrence.
“We know what their threats are and we’ll come with a plan to shut that down.
“There’s the history there in terms of how they’ve performed at World Cups.
“They’re a very passionate team and a team that turns up on days against teams when potentially they shouldn’t have a standing in the game.”