The men in gold missed out on a bonus point after scoring just three tries – two of those supplied by back-rower David Pocock – against the determined Fijians.
“Our recent form is okay and we beat New Zealand during the Rugby Championship (which Australia won), but we don’t have the best recent record against England“.
The Wallabies get their campaign underway on Wednesday against Fiji, who were expected to be makeweights in a Pool A also including former champions England, Wales and Uruguay.
“It was a shaky start but we did really well to overcome those errors and stay in control of the game”.
Ultimately it was an inauspicious start to the tournament for the much-vaunted Wallaby backline, often tagged the most dynamic in world rugby.
“But I like the way Michael Cheika goes about things”.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has long made it clear that the Wallabies will never play conservative rugby on his watch, whatever the conditions.
But he said: “That’s the draw of the competition, I don’t think it’s fair or unfair”.
“We were under a bit of heat in the middle 20 minutes after halftime but we regained our composure quite nicely and got ourselves into the right position so we could push the [lead] out to two scores”, he said. “It’s the World Cup and it will be tough every game and we will have to earn everything we get”.
But openside flanker Hooper said: “You have to build, you don’t want to show all your guns in the first game”.
The world’s No.9-ranked team continued to push until the final whistle, while Australia held firm in defence but began to look like a side which hadn’t played a match in six weeks. “(But) it was exactly what we needed.
True to their style, Fiji never stopped trying and Ben Volavola’s try on the hour kept them in the game but they could never close the gap and they now need a miracle to get out of the pool.
Australia will now have a fast turnaround, facing Uruguay on 27th September in Birmingham’s Villa Park, while Fiji take a well deserved break before returning to the Millenium Stadium to take on Wales on 1st Octoer.
“All credit to the Wallabies who played very well but I felt we controlled first half”.
Referees and the television match official have been thrust into the spotlight in the opening days at the World Cup in England.
“The Judicial Officer deemed the act of foul play merited a low-end entry point of 12 weeks”, organisers said in a statement.
McKee added: “The boys are well aware of the pressures around the game, but I don’t think those pressures will match the pressure of playing England at Twickenham in the opening game”.