England cruise to solid win over Fiji
England ran in six tries and were awarded a penalty try as they cruised to a 54-12 win over Fiji in the opening Autumn International at Twickenham.
Charlie Sharples and Manu Tuilagi both scored twice, while Ugo Monye and Tom Johnson also touched down while Toby Flood added 17 points with the boot before Owen Farrell took over to add another two of his own.
But Stuart Lancaster will not be totally pleased with his side as they still suffered brief lapses in concentration, most notably at the beginning and end of the second half when Fiji ran in their two tries.
Fiji were, for the most part, outplayed by a stronger England team but did manage to take a couple of their chances; Nicola Matawalu touching down near the beginning of the second half before Josh Matavesi ensured the match ended on a positive note for the tourists.
Fiji made a positive start to the match, putting England under considerable pressure during the first 15 minutes, particularly when Danny Care found himself sent to the sin bin for a questionable spear tackle.
But England stood their ground and, just before the 20 minute mark, got the first score of the match when Flood took full advantage of a penalty kick.
Getting off the mark seemed to open the floodgates for England as they quickly added a try to their tally, Tuilagi and man-of-the-match Andy Goode combined brilliantly on the right wing before offloading to Sharples outside them.
Flood added the conversion before also adding another three points from a penalty just a few minutes later.
Things looked to be going from bad to worse for under-pressure Fiji when skipper Deacon Manu was sent to the sin bin for persistent infringements from his team.
But Manu’s side caused enough trouble to frustrate England, who managed just the one score while they were enjoyed the extra man; a penalty try after one too many infringements at the scrum, an area were Fiji were constantly under pressure.
It was only a temporary respite from England, however, as one disallowed try later they were back on the scoreboard when Goode spotted Monye in acres of space on the left wing and took a quick tap penalty to put the Harlequins winger over for the easy score.
Flood could not manage to add the conversion with the last kick of the half but he quickly made up for it with an early penalty in the second as England continued their scoring ways despite the interval.
Dan Cole looked to have been next to add to the scoreline only for the Television Match Official to, rightly, decide he had been held up over the line – one of a number of missed opportunities for England as Sharples, Ben Youngs and Mike Brown all also missed golden scoring opportunities.
But again it was only a temporary let up in what was a fairly consistent stream of scores from England, Goode again providing the moment of inspiration as he spread the ball wide to skipper Chris Robshaw, who in turn found Johnson on the sideline for the score.
Fiji, however, were not going to let England have it all their own way as he scored the kind of brilliant individual try that the Islanders have become known for. Matawalu received the ball in his own half before accelerating away from Monye and Tuilagi along the right wing to collect his own kick upfield and get Fiji off the mark after 56 minutes.
England quickly bounced back, Sharples getting his second before Tuilagi came into his own to score twice in the final 10 minutes, while Youngs and Brown also had their tries disallowed during that time.
Fiji ended on a more positive note with their second try as replacement Matavesi took advantage of a lapse in concentration from a tiring England side, something that will frustrate the hosts heading into their next match against Australia at Twickenham next weekend.