Wallabies on notice after Fiji’s win over England

Photo: Fiji Rugby

The Wallabies have been given a stark reminder their passage into the knockout rounds at the Rugby World Cup is far from assured after Fiji shocked England in their warm-up clash this morning.

The Australians have their own pre-tournament hit-out against hosts France in Paris early Monday morning (AEST) but performances from their Pool C rivals have put the Wallabies on notice.

Fiji, who Australia face in their second pool match in Saint-Etienne, defeated England for the first time, scoring three sensational tries in a 30-22 victory at Twickenham.

Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui, hailed the Drua’s participation in Super Rugby Pacific as a major boost for his island nation.

“The Drua has been huge for us, we’ve been able to expose 40 to 50 players to playing at the highest level in Super Rugby,” Raiwalui told reporters after the England win.

“The gap is closing.

“People think of Fijian-style rugby as throwing it around but it’s also about collisions and being the best side we can be.”

The eighth-ranked Wallabies also face pool clashes with Wales and Portugal.

Planet Rugby’s analysis of the Fiji match stated England were beaten up on the gainline, showed little execution or ownership of any game plan they might have had and, other than a marginal advantage at scrum time, lost every single battle on the pitch.

The Fijian commitment in contact was ferocious; whilst many will laud them for their attacking brilliance, this deserved win was one founded on brilliant and physical defence, starting in their magnificent back-row and finished by their muscular three quarters, who pummelled England into submission behind their own gainline.

Nothing epitomised their performance more than their defensive set from 74 to 76 minutes, one that saw Marcus Smith’s presence inspire England’s backline into some form of potency. But the Fijian repelling of that effort, led by their brilliant skipper Waisea Nayacalevu, defined their day and their well deserved victory.