Joe Marler joked that he was inspired by Brighton’s win over Manchester United to provide a bizarre assist in England’s win over Japan.
Captain Courtney Lawes benefited from a fortuitous bounce off Marler’s bonce, collecting the loose ball and landing under the posts for a crucial second try.
England then scored twice later to secure a 34-12 bonus point victory.
Although the ball traveled forward, as it came straight off Marler’s head, it was not struck, and with Lawes in playing position when contact was made, the try was confirmed by the televised match official.
England have played regular football in training at this tournament, including during their captain’s run on Saturday, and Marler later joked that the hard work had paid off.
“This is exactly what I train for, these moments,” Marler said. “I practiced it today with Dan Cole and Jamie George – in activation we were practicing our heads.
“I took huge inspiration from Robert De Zerbi’s mighty Seagulls, doing a demolition job on United, who are my son’s team. Four Premier League games in a row. Only three teams in the history of the Premier League have beaten Man United four games in a row in the Premier League: Brighton, Man City and Liverpool.
“But (Brighton haven’t) won anything yet, guys – which brings us back to us, because we haven’t won anything yet. We’ve had two good wins, one in different circumstances and we’re on our way to the next.
England are top of Pool D after their opening two matches, and will next face Chile in Lille on Saturday before concluding their pool efforts against Samoa a fortnight later at City.