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Friday Sep 18, 2015

England finish strongly to pick up bonus point win over Fiji in RWC 2015 opener

England finish strongly to pick up bonus point win over Fiji in RWC 2015 opener
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England were not as convincing as they would have hoped to be in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham earlier tonight, but they got the crucial bonus point victory they needed, beating Fiji comfortably 35-11 in front of 80 000 fans.

Mike Brown was excellent on the night, taking the space offered to him and ending up with a brace of tries, as well as the most running metres (172), and a Man of the Match award.

Referee Jaco Peyper and Television Match Official Shaun Veldsmen came under scrutiny for slowing down the match however, with numerous TMO stoppages. While their decisions were well made, the use of Hawk-Eye – which gives the TMO multiple real time angles to work with – slowed down the game somewhat.

In the case of a stunning Fiji try scored by dynamic scrumhalf Niko Matawalu, the try had actually been awarded and the conversion kick was about to be taken when referee Peyper spotted a corner-flag camera angle that showed he had in fact lost the ball.

While that was the correct call, a few minutes later mammoth winger Nemani Nadolo got up high for another excellent effort, and despite it seeming obvious that the try was scored, assistant referee John Lacey stepped in to recommend that the TMO check for offsides, and any other reason why the try couldn’t have been awarded.

It was moments like this that frustrated fans, and perhaps gave us some indication of how the use of technology in this year’s tournament may well become a real problem. That said, the decisions made were correct, and we’ve seen this kind of thing already this year, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.

The game itself struggled to take off as a spectacle, mainly due to the aforementioned issues, a wet ball and no doubt a bit of rustiness.

Fiji were in with a good chance of upsetting England with about twenty minutes to go, but some missed kicks at goal, and perhaps inferior fitness levels, prevented them from doing so.

The hosts did well to fight at the end and push for that bonus point, which was well deserved when Billy Vunipola skimmed the whitewash, but they won’t be all that pleased with the overall performance.

They will however be delighted with the result, as they now have one up on Wales and Australia, who will know that they themselves need to get as many bonus points as possible to edge things in this tightest of tight group of death, Pool A.

28 Comments

  • dude
    1:30 AM 21/09/2015

    I'm not sure of the law, but it looked like he dropped the ball rather than knocking on and then put his hand on it. Is that still a knock on?

    Reply
  • drg
    12:41 AM 21/09/2015

    Disappointed to read that the Fijian 8 (was it?) that lifted Jonny Mays leg has now been cited for that non event... I suppose the outcome could be favourable, but it's a poor effort to make a deal out of that in my eyes. I think if that, in it's pettyness is worth double looking at, then McCaws 'trip' is also something that should require citing! (I'd actually like them to both be ignored...) Interesting side note on rugby in general, I was reading an article which sewed a seed regarding tackle laws changing to reduce concussions etc... It was very wishy washy and didn't amount to anything. What it did do however was mention some strong figures: "Head trauma now constitutes 12.5% of all match injuries and has increased 59% on the figures published for the 2012-13 season, rising from 54 instances incurred that season to 86 in 2013-14" If anyone would like a rapport, what are peoples views on this? Personally I am of the opinion that numbers have not increased, but the ability to measure these numbers has improved. When I was playing early senior rugby, head injuries and concussions were dealt with in house (if at all)... "if someone knocks their head then they knock their head... what's the big deal". These days however, the slight hint of a head knock and it's an auto assessment etc etc, so I feel that there is more awareness that is highlighting injuries, rather than more injuries. I also feel there is a strong drive amongst the players for awareness, so perhaps players are now less inclined to hide signs and are now happier to openly admit an injury...

    Reply
  • drg
    10:51 PM 20/09/2015

    As a complete non expert I can only put my chinese whispers answer to the jumping thing. I have heard that "jumping into the tackle IS dangerous" therefore always a penalty - like I said, I'm no expert and will probably get corrected, but that is my understanding.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:48 PM 20/09/2015

    Ah, I hadn't noticed any forward passes or knock ons before hand, but then I personally found the match a bit broken, so I wasn't paying 100% attention to it...

    Reply
  • facepalm
    10:12 PM 20/09/2015

    The first English maul was very dodgy. Certainly looked like a classic case of truck and trailer going unspotted. With Johnny May and the jumping into a tackle, is that not only a penalty when it is considered dangerous?

    Reply
  • drg
    4:04 PM 20/09/2015

    So really, if Fiji had a grasp of that particular law, the number 9 should have run back for a quick rugby 7's drop goal conversion, and the referee would then not be able to overrule the decision? Of course the 9 might not have realised he'd dropped it. If the laws are as you stated then I'm happy to drop the topic as it's got an answer...

    Reply
  • colombes
    2:48 PM 20/09/2015

    I didn't watch Wilko comments but after the incidents of England-Fiji and France-Italy, 2 things come to my mind. Firstly, the IRB rule says that a ref can disallow as long as the kicker didn't transform the try. so the question to change the result of a game after 1 day or 1 week doesn't exist. In both cases, Peyper and Joubert validated Macawalu and Nakaitaci try before ask for a tmo check and correctly disallow both tries thanks to new video replays on the big screen. In both cases, the decisions was made before the transformation. So, no problem. But like said before, there is a lack of proceduere here. Imagine if the tv broadcaster decides to show replays after the transformation OR that a kicker who thinks the try was 50/50 quickly transform the try before any decision of the ref...... This situation would be quite controversial. Hope we won't see more of these situations in the competition

    Reply
  • drg
    11:55 AM 20/09/2015

    I agree with the sentiments but also disagree overall, a 'try' was scored, everyone wants to see it as an action point. You don't want to see a guy smash over the line in real time and never see it again. Whether it was home, away or a ref try, I want to see it again and in slow time so I can appreciate it... My big gripe, however is exactly that of Wilkinson, can we see a game result overruled because of a bad call? World cup ends with NZ winning, but hold in, we have to replay the world cup, because a quarter final match where NZ won, they actually knocked the ball on, so they technically lost that match... Of course it won't happen, but why not? I mean if the decision is good enough to overrule 2 mins later, why not 5, 20, 1hr, 1 day, 1 week? I remember a try England scored against Scotland in the 6N many years ago, might even have been JW, it was given by the tmo of all people, but the England players toes clearly scraped over the whitewash and into touch.... Are we going to go back and amend that result? And therefore that tournament (Scotland probably still got dicked, but still...) I'm being very cynical and overly difficult, but Peyper and Nigel Owens (remember he did something similar) are setting precedents...

    Reply
  • drg
    11:47 AM 20/09/2015

    Actually regarding Jonny May, I totally agree, that 'tip tackle, non tip tackle rubbish' the leg WAS lifted, but May was leaping around and just before England's last try he jumped into the tackle (imo)

    Reply
  • colombes
    6:13 PM 19/09/2015

    They were lucky in the sense the refs didnt check for forward passes and knock-ons in the build-up of their 2 last triez. Whatever, i hope the refs will not be Tmo excessive this match was certainly a lab, but refs should not abuse of the video. Interesting point below with potential Tv broadcaster influences already noted during the Erc Cup.

    Reply
  • reality
    3:49 PM 19/09/2015

    Is anyone else sick of crap South African referees that hand the match to the home team? Instead of penalising England for obstruction in their maul when there was clearly no Fijian defender attached, he gives a penalty try and yellow cards the Fijian, therefore ending Fiji's chances after only 13 minutes. Then for the last try, what seemed to be an English knock on at 78.58 if I remember correctly, not even checked, and then Johnny May clearly jumps into the tackle, and again, doesn't even check, and instead just lets them continue to get their bonus point. One game down and it's already a joke.

    Reply
  • rememberthemer
    3:11 PM 19/09/2015

    The problem with the going to the TMO after awarding the try is not really about the decision. Its about what drove the decision - namely Peyper seeing the try in slow-mo as is was replayed over and over on the big screen at twickers. So Peyper was directly influenced by the replays and induced to change his decision. Who controls those replays? The home broadcaster. So the home broadcaster influenced the outcome. In this instance the decision was ultimately correct, but the fact remains that a partisan source influenced the game. Would they have been so willing to endlessly replay the incident had it been an English try incorrectly awarded? Who can say but it's a valid concern. Hence they have implemented some procedural rules to avoid any possibility of undue influence. They should stick with them because they're there for a good reason. Refereeing errors are an inevitable (and fecking frustrating) part of the game. TV producers inserting themselves into proceedings is something rugby definitely does not need. BTW, this is a universal issue, not an English one.

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    2:26 PM 19/09/2015

    I don't mind going to the tmo, but it was so slow last night, communication seemed poor between ref and tmo. I also don't like how it becomes a 'what do you think?' arse covering exercise. In league it seems to be much faster, tmo talks through thought process, and I think has final decision once they go upstairs. With it being so slow, teams with inferior fitness (basteraud) get ages to recover.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    12:43 PM 19/09/2015

    A lot of the Fijian lads are servicemen. One of the 2nd rows was court marshalled by the British Army for joining Glasgow without the correct release papers! There are a fair few from the second tier (championship, pro D2, NPC etc.) You wouldn't know it by watching the team play though, basic skills might not be 100% but the raw rugby talent is truly outrageous.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    12:39 PM 19/09/2015

    In Mike Brown's early days, he was targeted due to a perceived lack of pace. A booming left foot is useless if you can't get to the ball first. Margot Wells has done wonders with the Quins backline, Brown's running style has completely changed in the past few years, and we've all seen how well it has worked for him and England!

    Reply
  • drg
    12:16 PM 19/09/2015

    I watched the game on itv and Clive Woodward and Jonny Wilkinson were pundits in the studio, they made very good points regarding the tmo and the 'try actually no try' incident... JW said when has enough time past? Right after decision, after conversion, after half time, after the game? I don't know the answers but he made a good point, let's say the final had an ambiguous try, the scoring team wins the game, but then no, during trophy ceremony the decision is overruled... Yes it's far fetched, but the point is undeniable. I think it was JW that made the point again stating that if neither ref or touch judge saw it, then they need to either back themselves and call an 'easy try' or ask the 'tmo', in which case with the tmo, CW said he'd be unhappy with a referee who doesn't have the confidence to make calls.... Tricky one... Interesting game, Fijians look strong but less fit which I think caught up at the end. Well done to all.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:09 PM 19/09/2015

    Barritt looked shaky, I'd be tempted to say it was nerves, big first game etc, but still two soft penalties in quick succession. Did I hear correctly that Fiji missed out in something like 15 points from penalties?!

    Reply
  • drg
    12:07 PM 19/09/2015

    I don't quite see how England were lucky in the two decisions if you are ignoring the bonus point and therefore the last try.... All seemed pretty correct if you ask me.

    Reply
  • smilingjim
    11:55 AM 19/09/2015

    So true, I'm no expert on the Fijian players, but when the commentator mentioned the clubs they play at largely very good french teams (when a back row sub came on that plays for Clermont Auvergne). Its clear there a very talented bunch. First night nerves in slippery conditions, I'm more than happy with a bonus point win.

    Reply
  • 45678
    11:33 AM 19/09/2015

    to say England were poor is a huge insult to Fiji. the were awkward, very physical and their set piece was very good. It's the first game and a win is a win. perhaps this will lower some of the typical over expectation and hype on the basis of this game, I wouldn't be surprised if Fiji beat the Aussies or welsh

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    11:12 AM 19/09/2015

    Last one, how is this even possible Billy, smh! "To be truthfully honest with you, I didn't know that bonus points counted in the World Cup" http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/34301452

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    10:49 AM 19/09/2015

    Thoughts on Barritt gents? I thought he was pretty poor, but we don't have many options now do we. Can't throw in Slade or Burgess

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    10:46 AM 19/09/2015

    Yes I was amazed by his and the the back 3's handling skills in the wet. Looks as if he's gained a yard of pace as well, I know he trains with m.wells

    Reply
  • hellraiser_rob
    10:43 AM 19/09/2015

    I know what you mean, judging by some of the comments you would think we'd lost. Fiji have clearly tightened up their game a great deal, and deserve more credit. 5 points and much to improve on. Scrum is a real worry, exclusion of Corbs looks to be a bad decision , even if they had injury worries. Good to come here for some coherent rugby comments, all the national paper sites are filled with flame war crap.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    9:49 AM 19/09/2015

    Great game Fiji. Was never under the illusion that they were going to be pushovers but glad we managed to scrape the 5 points at the death. England have quite a bit of work to do if we want to beat Wales and Australia. As for the TMO decisions, particularly Matawalu's try, I'm slightly on the fence. Yes I'm one for the "once decision is made, it stands rule". But would people be as accepting of that if that had been say, the deciding moment in a world cup final? I'm not so sure. Ultimately it didn't matter as Fiji scored not long after anyway. Have to say the overwhelming Anti-English sentiment that is present on many facets of social media is starting to get a bit dull. I'm all for a bit of banter but I get the feeling people only care that the crowd made some noise during the Cibi is because they were English. Funny how nearly everyone who claims it's "disrespectful" aren't even Fijian!

    Reply
  • colombes
    9:28 AM 19/09/2015

    Forgetting the bonus points, it was a quite flattering scoreline for England who were quite lucky with Tmo decisions. Fiji can have remorse as they were strong in many areas, but they're still a 60 minutes team. English fans must be happy to watch Brown playing. What a player.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:22 AM 19/09/2015

    It felt insulting to a decent Fiji outfit that not getting the bonus point would have felt like a loss. Those guys played well, but England gave them far too much space. Australia will be licking their lips. We have some improving to do. The quality of England's bench made the difference in the end. The Vunipola's are just so strong coming into a game late on.

    Reply
  • guy
    7:23 AM 19/09/2015

    From a neutral perspective I really enjoyed the match. The scoreline might be a bit flattering to England though. The subs made the difference in the end but besides Brown I thought Robshaw also had a great game. God I love seeing those Fijians play but well done England.

    Reply


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England finish strongly to pick up bonus point win over Fiji in RWC 2015 opener | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos