September 18, 2015
England Beats Fiji 35-11 To Open Rugby World Cup 2015
Photo: Rugby World Cup 2015, Mike Brown Scores Second Try For England.
England v Fiji Pool A, Twickenham, London 20:00
Referee: Jaco Peyper; Ass’t Ref: John Lacey, Stuart Berry; TV Match Official: Shaun Veldsmen
Twickenham in London was packed with 80,015 fans to watch the first match of the Rugby World Cup 2015. While the outcome didn’t disappoint the home crowd, numerous handling errors and the 16 points left on the table by 4 missed penalty kicks and a conversion by Fiji, might have.
It didn’t take long to get England on the board with a penalty kick by George Ford. 3′ England would have another opportunity to add points as Sakiusa Matadigo illegally lifted Jonny May. England kicked for touch and then won the subsequent Lineout and moved ahead with a rolling maul. Nikola Matawalu came in from the side and was given a yellow card, resulting in a penalty try for England. George Ford converted for a 10-0 lead. 12′
Fiji would then give up possession by kicks ahead to England. At times this tactic continued and did not serve Fiji well.
At 21′ Mike Brown added a try after a Fiji Lineout was overthrown. Ford missed the conversion. Score 15-0 England, 21′.
A short time later, Fiji won a scrum near midfield and Nikola Matawalu picked and went blind side reaching out for an apparent try. One of the many TMO decision clearly showed that he lost possession while touching down. 27′.
Two minutes later Fiji did not waste an opportunity as Ben Volavola cross kicked in goal and Nemani Nadolo outreached his defender, bringing the ball down for a try. The conversion was missed. (15-5 England)
Penalties continued and George Ford made Fiji pay by slotting another penalty kick. (18-5 England, 33′) It was England’s turn now, as they didn’t release a tackler and Nemani Nadola converts to narrow the lead. (18-8 England, 36′)
England would have one last chance for points prior to the half as Fiji was penalized for leaving their feet in a ruck. George Ford’s strike was short. Halftime was England 18-8 Fiji.
Early in the second half Fiji grubbed ahead, but Brad Barritt was pinged for an obstruction. Nadola’s kick was wide. Tom Wood got in a barrel roll on Sakiusa Masi, but surprisingly he was not given a yellow when he wrapped around Masi’s neck on this maneuver.Once again Fiji was not able to capitalize on a penalty kick, as Nadola’s kick went left of the posts. 62′
The kicking pendulum swung back to Ben Volavola, as he made up for two earlier misses to narrow the score to 18-11 in favor of England. (65′) That’s as close as it came, as over the remaining time in the match, England for score 17 unanswered points.
Owen Farrell started these points with a penalty kick. (England 21-11, 67′). An errant pass by Fiji allowed an offload to Mike Brown for his second try. That earned him the Man of the Match selection. Farrell proved to be accurate all match, as he added the conversion. (28-11 England)
That try would seal the match for England, but not before Billy Vunipola, added a 4th try and a bonus point for England after a TMO review. Farrell once again converted and the Final was 35-11.
We know the TMO was in frequent use today and correctly made a difference in three scoring opportunities. England will need to cut down upon handling mistakes and Fiji will need to retain possession more in future matches.
England: 35 -Tries: Penalty, Mike Brown (2), Billy Vunipola. Conversions: Ford, Farrell (2) Penalties: Ford 2, Farrell
Fiji: 11 -Try Nemani Nadolo. Penalties Nadola, Volavola
England (Ranked 4th): HC: Stuart Lancaster Starters: 1 Joe Marler, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Geoff Parling, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 9 Ben Youngs, 10 George Ford, 11 Jonny May, 12 Brad Barritt, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 14 Anthony Watson, Mike Brown Replacements: 16 Rob Webber (H), 17 Mako Vunipola (P), 18 Kieran Brookes (P), 20 Billy Vunipola (8), 21 Richard Wigglesworth (SH), 22 Owen Farrell (FH), 23 Sam Burgess (C)
Fiji (Ranked 9th): HC Jon McKee Starters: 1 Campese Ma’afu, 2 Sunia Koto, 3 Manasa Saulo, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 8 Sakiusa Masi Matadigo, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 10 Ben Volavola, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 14 Waisea Nayacelevu, 15 Metuisela Talebula Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Tuapati (H), 17 Peni Ravai (P), 18 Isei Colati (P) 19 Tevita Cavubati (L), 20 Peceli Yato (F), 21 Nemia Kentale (SH), 22 Joshua Matavesi (FH), 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma (W)