England 30-24 Fiji: Owen Farrell’s boot seals Rugby World Cup semi-final spot”

With a close victory over Fiji in Marseille, England advanced to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals thanks to Owen Farrell’s boot.

With fifteen minutes left, England had a commanding 14-point lead. But, in a wild four minutes, Peni Ravai and Vilimoni Botitu of Fiji each scored a try to tie the game at 24-24.

After starting at 10 instead of George Ford, Farrell’s name was jeered when the team was announced in the stadium. However, eight minutes in, his drop goal made it 27–24.

In the 78th minute, England had a little more breathing room thanks to another penalty from Farrell. When Farrell’s intentional knock-on gave a resilient Fiji a penalty with the clock in red, nerves were raised, but England won the ball on the floor for an unforgettable win.

Following their defeat on Saturday by Ireland and Wales, England is the final home team remaining in the competition. They will play either holders South Africa or hosts France in their quarterfinal match on October 21 at 20:00 BST.

After a bumpy 2023, either of those two teams will be a lot bigger task for an England team that just had their best performance of the tournament.

England impresses a sea of supporters.

Although England entered the match as the favourite, many had low expectations following their poor pool stage and disastrous World Cup warm-up match defeat by Fiji in August.

In Marseille, England supporters vastly outnumbered Fijians, and they ensured that the trip was worthwhile.

The hits were as severe as they got, and the start was as colourful as Fiji’s orange uniform.

Elliot Daly kicked to the corner following a jubilant England team’s early victory on the pitch. The breakdown had been highlighted as a critical spot.

Wave after wave of massive Pacific tackles hammered a fast-moving attack, and when Steve Borthwick’s team won a penalty in front of the posts, Farrell scored the three points.

Another opportunity presented itself shortly. England maintained the tempo. A rolling maul gained some ground before Manu Tuilagi swiftly recycled the ball to win the strength battle and set up England’s opening try.

After appearing to slide beneath Josua Tuisova in a potentially deadly incident, Tom Curry escaped a yellow card, and Frank Lomani of Fiji scored the next penalty.

England hasn’t been able to combine their individual skill into a coherent offensive thus far this year. There were shrewd, instinctual running lines against Fiji.

Joe Marchant was able to go by Ben Earl, and Jonny May narrowly avoided getting hit by Maro Itoje. Marchant was able to find enough room to score when the attack swung right, then left.

Vinaya Habosi, a winger for Fiji, and Marcus Smith had a head contact in the build-up, resulting in a yellow card for Habosi and a head injury assessment for Smith, which the full-back eventually cleared.

Momentum shifted in favour of Fiji following Lomani’s second missed kick.

Even with a player down, Fiji took advantage of England’s defensive lapse, and Viliame Mata’s show-and-go was sufficient for him to dash over the line.

After a strong first half, Fiji showed their might once again as a throng of players carried Courtney Lawes into touch. Two further penalties from Farrell put England ahead 21–10.

England weathers the Fijian barrage

Scores from Vilimoni Botitu
After a try by Vilimoni Botitu put Fiji within two points of England, Frank Lomani’s conversion tied the match.
During the week, Borthwick expressed his desire for his players to have fun while wearing an England shirt. That appeared to be the case for the first time in a long time.

When Daly was deployed as an extra battering ram in the midfield, he was very active on the flank, and Earl had his greatest outburst of the tournament.

Before the tide shifted, Farrell took the opportunity to push England’s lead to 14.

Fiji had mentioned the expectations back home in the lead-up to the match, and when they launched their assault, it appeared like the entire weight of that was on their backs.

Simione Kuruvoli successfully converted after Ravai eventually crossed the line, but he missed a penalty that would have extended England’s lead to four points immediately after.

Subsequently, wing Semi Radradra made a clean offload as he bullied through England defenders, setting up a try for Botitu. Kuruvoli’s conversion brought the score to 24-24.

England was in the stadium, not simply carrying the weight of a nation. The boisterous spectators willed their attackers into the Fijian 22. Although there was no way past the opposition, Farrell had enough room to score the drop goal.

After a penalty, England had to fight back ferociously against a sustained Fijian attack in an attempt to advance to their first World Cup semifinal.

At some point, the Pacific Islanders were halted and England continue their journey to Paris.

England: Mitchell, Farrell (capt), Smith, May, Marchant, Tuilagi, Daly, Lawes, Curry, Earl, Genge, George, Cole, Itoje, and Chessum.

Dan, Marler, Sinckler, Martin, Vunipola, Care, Ford, and Lawrence are the replacements.

The following players represent Fiji: Droasese; Habosi, Nayacalevu (capt), Tuisova, Radradra; Botitu, Lomani; Mawi, Ikanivere, Tagi, Nasilasila, Tuisue, Tagitagivalu, Botia, Mata.

Matavesi, Ravai, Doge, Derenalagi, Miramira, Kuruvoli, Masi, and Maqa are the replacements.

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