Sam Burgess was influential after coming on as a sub for England against Fiji.
Sam Burgess was influential after coming on as a sub for England against Fiji. getty images

Nervy England get first-up win

ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster says there is plenty of work to be done for the hosts after a nervous opening win over Fiji at the World Cup at Twickenham this morning.

The Pacific Islanders gave England a big fright and would have been even closer than the final 35-11 scoreline had they not missed four kickable shots at goal.

England raced into a 15-point lead on the back of a penalty try and another five-pointer from Harlequins full-back Mike Brown but Fiji began to overpower England's forwards in the scrums, lineouts and at the breakdown and scored a deserved try through giant winger Nemani Nadolo, who out-jumped Anthony Watson to touch down from Ben Volavola's precise kick.

The home side struggled for control from that point and it wasn't until the final quarter after Fiji closed to seven points that England pulled away following the introduction of former NRL star Sam Burgess, Billy Vunipola, his brother Mako and half-backs Richard Wigglesworth and Owen Farrell.

Brown scored a second try to round off a man-of-the-match performance before Billy Vunipola touched down on the last play of the match to seal a four-try bonus-point win which could prove crucial in the final analysis of the so-called group of death.

Lancaster was smiling at the end but admitted to a few nerves and said the performance has to get better against Wales next Sunday (AEST).

"It was a nervy performance," Lancaster said.

"We know we need to be better but credit to Fiji.

"They made it hard for us but everyone will struggle against Fiji because they are a big, strong side.

"But it's a win and we are delighted to get the points."

Australia plays Fiji on Thursday morning (1.45am AEST).


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