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

  • By Becky Grey
  • BBC Sport at Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Video caption,

Rugby World Cup: England and South Africa attain semi-finals as hosts France knocked out

Rugby World Cup quarter-final: England v Fiji

Tries: Tuilagi, Marchant; Pens: Farrell 5; Con: Farrell; Drop-goal: Farrell

Tries: Mata, Ravai, Botitu; Pen: Lomani; Cons: Lomani, Kuruvoli 2

Owen Farrell’s boot took England to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a slender victory towards Fiji in Marseille.

England led comfortably by 14 factors with 15 minutes remaining, when Fiji’s Peni Ravai and Vilimoni Botitu each crossed in a frantic 4 minutes to stage the rating at 24-24.

Farrell, whose title was booed when the group was introduced within the stadium after he was chosen over George Ford to start out at 10, vindicated his choice as his drop-goal made it 27-24 with eight minutes remaining.

Another Farrell penalty within the 78th minute gave England barely extra respiratory room. Nerves have been excessive when Farrell’s deliberate knock-on gave defiant Fiji a penalty with the clock in pink, however England received the ball on the ground for a memorable victory.

After Ireland and Wales misplaced on Saturday, England are the final house nation within the event and can now face holders South Africa on Saturday in a repeat of the 2019 ultimate.

The Springboks will pose a considerably higher problem for an England group who loved their finest efficiency of the event to this point after a turbulent 2023.

England ship for sea of followers

Image supply, Getty Images

Image caption,

Thousands of followers crossed the Channel to help England in Marseille

England went into the sport as favourites, however after defeat by Fiji in a disappointing August of World Cup warm-up video games and an inconsistent pool stage, expectations have been typically low.

England followers closely outnumbered Fijians in Marseille and their aspect made certain it was well worth the journey.

The begin was as vibrant as Fiji’s orange package and the hits have been as brutal because it will get.

The breakdown had been recognized as a significant space and Elliot Daly kicked to the nook after a delighted England had an early win on the ground.

A pacey assault was battered by wave after wave of big Pacific tackles and when Steve Borthwick’s aspect received a penalty in entrance of the posts, Farrell took the three factors.

Another likelihood quickly got here. England saved up the tempo. A rolling maul made some headway earlier than the ball was shortly recycled for Manu Tuilagi to win the muscle match and make it over for England’s first strive.

Tom Curry averted a yellow card for sliding beneath Josua Tuisova in a dangerous-looking collision and Fiji’s Frank Lomani slotted the ensuing penalty.

So far this 12 months, England had didn’t mould their particular person expertise right into a cohesive assault. Against Fiji, there have been good, instinctive working traces.

Ben Earl despatched Joe Marchant by way of a spot, Jonny May was falling into contact however discovered Maro Itoje simply in time. The assault swung proper, then left and Marchant discovered sufficient area to attain.

There had been a conflict of heads between Fiji wing Vinaya Habosi and Marcus Smith within the lead-up, incomes a yellow card for Habosi and a head harm evaluation for Smith, which the full-back later handed.

After a second missed kick by Lomani, momentum swung Fiji’s method.

Despite being a participant down, Fiji capitalised on a sleeping England defence and a show-and-go was sufficient for Viliame Mata to dart over the road.

Fiji continued to indicate their power as a crowd of gamers carried Courtney Lawes into contact, earlier than two extra Farrell penalties left England 21-10 up after a promising first half.

England survive Fiji barrage

Image supply, Getty Images

Image caption,

Vilimoni Botitu’s strive introduced Fiji to inside two factors of England earlier than Frank Lomani’s conversion levelled the scores

Borthwick spoke throughout the week about wanting his gamers to get pleasure from their time in an England shirt. For the primary time shortly, it regarded like they have been.

Daly was energetic on the wing and when used as an additional battering ram within the midfield and Earl rampaged as a lot as he has all event.

When the possibility got here, Farrell prolonged England’s result in 14 earlier than the tide turned.

Fiji had spoken within the build-up to the match of the expectation ranges again house and the total weight of that gave the impression to be on their backs as they started their barrage.

Ravai ultimately made it over and Simione Kuruvoli nailed the conversion however missed a penalty shortly after that may have reduce England’s result in 4.

Next, wing Semi Radradra powered by way of England defenders and made a neat offload, permitting Botitu to attain and Kuruvoli to stage the rating at 24-24 together with his conversion.

England didn’t simply have a nation on their backs – they have been within the stadium. The vociferous followers willed their forwards into Fiji’s 22. There was no method by way of the defence, however there was area for Farrell to land the drop-goal.

A penalty adopted, earlier than England have been compelled to desperately defend towards a protracted Fijian assault valiantly making an attempt to make its solution to a primary World Cup semi-final.

Eventually, the Pacific Islanders have been halted and England proceed their journey to Paris.

‘Owen ought to really feel very pleased with his efficiency’

England head coach Steve Borthwick on captain Owen Farrell: “He is a improbable chief. He is the form of chief I do know I’d wish to comply with on to the pitch. I feel he is a superb participant who thrives within the contest and particularly in these massive events he simply will get even higher.

“We are very lucky to have Owen as a participant on this group and as our chief. He ought to really feel very pleased with his efficiency and the best way he led the group.”

England captain Owen Farrell: “It was what we anticipated. Fiji are a troublesome, robust group that may flip it on within the blink of an eye fixed. I assumed we began the sport rather well however we at all times knew Fiji have been going to have some good patches and so they did.

“To find a way to win and get through to the semi-finals is a big step forward but we know we have plenty of work to do.”

England flanker Ben Earl, chatting with BBC Radio 5 Live: “That is one of the best days of my career, I’ve not had a feeling like that at the end of the game, just huge relief.”

“I am so pleased for the group and certain individuals. We owe it to them to keep playing another couple of weeks in the England shirt. I want to make the most of playing with Courtney Lawes, Owen Farrell and Dan Cole. These guys are greats of the game, never mind just English rugby.”

England’s 2003 World Cup winner Matt Dawson on Radio 5 Live: “Fiji’s gamers are heartbroken. They gave it their finest shot with out a query.

“England have been magnificent in that first half and all in all that was the most effective England efficiency in plenty of months.

“England were tight and committed. Fair play to them.”


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

Replacements: Dan, Marler, Sinckler, Martin, Vunipola, Care, Ford, Lawrence.

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

Replacements: Matavesi, Ravai, Doge, Derenalagi, Miramira, Kuruvoli, Masi, Maqala.

Match officers

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Assistants: Nic Berry (Australia), Pierre Brousset (France)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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