England won their opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2015 after a convincing 35-11 victory over Fiji at Twickenham, with Mike Brown the hero of the night following his two tries.
After the wonderful opening ceremony, including a speech from Prince Harry – the real stuff begun, as Fiji started the match, and more importantly, the Rugby World Cup 2015.
England didn’t allow the visitors to settle into the game before they got their first points of the tournament, courtesy of a penalty conversion by conversion by George Ford, who couldn’t have struck the ball much more perfectly – giving the tournament hosts a 3-0 lead.
Fiji were then handed the chance to level the scores with a penalty of their own just a few minutes later, but Ben Volavola was incredibly unlucky as he hit the post.
With 11 minutes gone England increased their score with a penalty try, on the back of powerful rolling maul. The hosts had been awarded a penalty a few moments prior after a dangerous tip-tackle on Jonny May. Ford then went on to slot the conversion away, giving England a 10-0 lead.
Fiji were guilty of some poor tackles and England were getting plenty of promising penalties, and with 22 gone the second try of the game came. The English players worked the ball out with quick precision to the left and it was Mike Brown who powered home upping the score to 15-0, with Ford not taking the conversion opportunity this time – so 15-0 it remained.
Mild controversy was to follow five minutes later, when Fiji were awarded a try before then having it chalked off. Nikola Matawalu raced down the right and was simply unstoppable, or was he? Jonny May and Mike Brown were the two chasing down Matawalu and just as he looked to have scored the try the Fijian knocked on, on the line.
But Fiji would in fact score a try just moments after, as England conceded the scrum before Nemani Nadolo caught a wonderful cross field kick in the goal area, reducing the deficit to 15-5 – but they too would miss the conversion, as Volavola failed in his attempts.
Half time was edging closer after a thoroughly entertaining opening 40, but there was time for both England and Fiji to score three more points each, both from penalties – taking the scores to 18-8 with four minutes left to play.
Despite late pressure from Fiji, and a failed penalty attempt from England, both sides went into the half time break at 18-8 in what was an excellent display from both nations.
Fiji missed a good opportunity to reduce the deficit further seven minutes into the second period, but Nadolo missed on this occasion.
After a middle of the park battle for 15 minutes, Nadolo had another chance from a penalty – but once again he squandered the chance to bring Fiji within a try score of catching England.
That wake up call wasn’t loud enough for England, who gave Fiji another penalty opportunity. Volavola didn’t make the mistake his colleague had only moments earlier, and brought Fiji back in the game at 18-11.
The visitors were back within seven points of levelling the scores for a matter of minutes before England converted a penalty through Owen Farrell, extending the lead once more to ten at 21-11.
With only 8 minutes remaining England looked to have put the game out of Fiji’s sight as Mike Brown was the hero once more, scoring the try – and Farrell scored from the conversion, making it 28-11.
England went in search of the bonus point they would be awarded for winning with four tries scored, and it looked like they may have left it too late with the 80 minutes up, that is until Billy Vunipola powered through the Fijian back-line to score the all important try. With the bonus point already in the bag, Farrell converted to leave the score at 35-11 at full time in what was a commanding display by the hosts.