England beat Fiji in RWC opener

With just two nations progressing to the quarter-finals, at least one of Wales, Australia and England will be eliminated without reaching the knockout stage, and Fiji will also fancy their chances of causing an upset. “We select it on a week by week basis, assess the performance and decide what’s best to play Wales“, Lancaster said.


“There is no truth in it at all, I’ve not heard a word from Australia and I don’t know where it has come from but it’s definitely not true”, he said. We have to go out there and give the crowd something to cheer – we have to show real intent, endeavour and execute well.

A penalty try, following a strong driving maul, gave England a commanding position but Fiji fought back well, dominating at the breakdown, and a combination of May and Brown prevented Nikola Matawala from touching down.

Vunipola’s impressive display in the last 20 minutes, when his powerful, direct running helped England regain control of the game, has put him in the frame to regain the starting number eight slot from Ben Morgan, who was below his best on Friday. If you back Fiji’s defence to be slightly more resolute, you can find odds of 11/10 that they’ll be within 22 points of the hosts.

The opening salvo in the second half was scrappy.

Few would begrudge Brown his bauble – he scored two tries – but the more influential character on the night was Veldsman.

Coach Stuart Lancaster, while delighted to lay down a marker by seeing the hosts top the table with five points, was quick to accept that there were plenty of areas to work on.

“There’s competition for every place, that’s probably why I’m not so happy with my performance in terms of a couple of errors I made because I know I’ve got guys breathing down my neck”.

“It gets frustrating for everyone when those decisions take a little time, but it is part of the game and those officials have to get those decisions right”, Fiji coach John McKee told reporters.

“They’re not particularly adventurous in the way they approach the game even though they’ve got some great talent to do it”, he said.

But they failed to to exploit their opportunities and England’s superior fitness eventually prevailed. “This pool was not decided tonight, that’s for sure”.


Wales make their tournament debut on Sunday when they face likely Pool A whipping boys Uruguay at the Millennium Stadium.

England Rugby