Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A: England vs. Fiji
England battle to bonus point victory
PA Sport
September 18, 2015
Date/Time: Sep 18, 2015, 20:00 local, 19:00 GMT
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
England 35 - 11 Fiji
Attendance: 80015  Half-time: 18 - 8
Tries: Brown 2, VML Vunipola, Penalty
Cons: Farrell 2, Ford
Pens: Farrell, Ford 2
Tries: Nadolo
Pens: Nadolo, Volavola

Lacklustre England made a less-than-convincing start to their World Cup campaign with a 35-11 bonus-point victory over Fiji at Twickenham which will leave Australia and Wales scenting the hosts' blood.

Roared on by a partisan crowd, England received the kick-off and benefited from an early knock-on by Ben Volavola, who received George Ford's kick.

Ford kicked a third-minute penalty after Fiji were penalised for collapsing the resulting scrum, where England showed early supremacy.

Brad Barritt did not roll out of the tackle quickly enough and conceded a penalty for offside, but Volavola's attempt hit the post.

Giant wing Nemani Nadolo, tearful during the Fiji anthem, was beaten in the air by Anthony Watson to one Ford cross-field kick as England mixed up their attacks. Nadolo then barged through England fly-half Ford before being stopped. It was a statement of Fijian intent.

Jonny May was lifted dangerously by Dominkio Waqaniburotu, conceding a penalty and field position and England rumbled forwards through their pack. Fiji could not control the hosts' rolling maul and England were awarded a penalty try.

England 35-11 Fiji (Video available in Australia only)

Ford converted from in front of the posts and Nikola Matawalu was sent to the sin-bin while Fiji lock Ratuinyarawa was perhaps fortunate not to spend time in the sin-bin for a cynical hit on England captain Chris Robshaw at the breakdown as the islanders were penalised for further indiscipline.

England scored after a Fiji lineout on their own line was thrown long and Tom Wood intercepted. The ball was quickly recycled and spread from right to left, with Mike Brown crossing after quick hands from Jonathan Joseph. Ford missed the conversion.

Matawalu showed his strength and pace when dancing by May to burst down the right wing. He held off the Gloucester flyer and Brown but dropped the ball over the line.

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Referee Jaco Peyper had initially awarded the try, but when the footage was shown on the big screen he called for the intervention of the Television Match Official and the score was annulled.

Fiji scored with the next play, though. England lost the ball from the resulting scrum and Volavola's cross-field kick was caught by Nadolo, who rose above Watson to score.

Ford kicked a penalty and missed another either side of a successful one from Nadolo as England's advantage stood at 10 points at the interval.

The action resumed and it wasn't long before Barritt obstructed Goneva to concede a penalty. Nadolo lined it up, but missed the opportunity to reduce the arrears to seven points. England continued to apply pressure and were awarded a penalty for offside, but it was overturned by the TMO as Wood removed Nakarawa illegally.

Head coach Stuart Lancaster rang the changes with the half 12 minutes old. Mako and Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Richard Wigglesworth came on for Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Geoff Parling and Ben Youngs, respectively, tasked with restoring the dominance England showed in the first quarter.

Fiji remained a nuisance and a threat, with Nadolo running down the left wing on the counter attack.

England full-back Mike Brown scored a try as the home nation took control in their opening World Cup game © Getty Images

Rugby league convert Sam Burgess made his World Cup debut, coming on with Owen Farrell as England again looked for reinforcements to galvanise the side. It remained scrappy but Fiji could not capitalise. Nadolo missed another penalty before Volavola moved the islanders to within one converted try of their hosts.

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England next rumbled forwards once more, with the Vunipolas prominent and Fiji strayed offside. Farrell restored the 10-point advantage.

Brown scored his second try after Watson intercepted a loose Fiji pass and England spread the ball from right to left. Farrell made a half burst and passed off the floor for Brown to juggle before touching down.

Brown might have had a third in a man-of-the-match-winning performance after reaching Burgess' offload, but was stopped short.

But Billy Vunipola did score in the final moments to secure a scarcely deserved bonus point, only after a ruling by the TMO. Farrell converted.

Fiji were a nuisance and, but for missed kicks, might have pushed England closer, but instead had to settle for Nemani Nadolo's try and two penalties.

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