By Ros Satar
- England beat Fiji in the opening game 35-11
- Man of the match Mike Brown scores two tries
- Injury time try by Billy Vunipola gives hosts bonus points
London, UK – England opened the Rugby World Cup with a win but Fiji served notice that they were not to be underestimated in Pool A.
It was not all plain sailing for the hosts who worked hard for their win, but finished strongly in the last 20 minutes.
Fiji may rue some missed kicks that could have pushed England far closer than the hosts would have liked.
The 2003 World Cup winners gave away penalties and in some respects had a lucky escape, as they continued their winning streak at Twickenham.
It was a quick start for England with a George Ford penalty as the first points of the World Cup and a penalty try from a rolling maul before Mike Brown drive the ball over the line from a corner.
Fiji may have been denied a try for Nikola Matawalu with much displeasure at the time taken by the Television Match Official (TMO) to disallow it, but they were rewarded with a try for their monumental left winger Nemani Nadolo.
If Fiji had more luck with the boot, they could have been at 18-17 but with 20 minutes to go, England spurred into action, with replacements Sam Burgess and Billy Vunipola making their presence felt, with the latter thumping a final try home in injury time to snare the hosts a vital bonus point that might reap dividends for England in a tough pool.
Speaking to the BBC, England head coach Stuart Lancaster said after the match: “It was a big occasion and there were a few nerves. We had to work hard and that last try late in the game was a massive relief.”
His sentiments were echoed by England captain Chris Robshaw: “The bonus point might be hugely important. We knew it would come down to the last five or 10 minutes because Fiji were hard to break down.”
England will play Wales on Saturday, at Twickenham.