The Flying Fijians have handed England their first loss to a Tier 2 rugby nation in a historical 30-22 defeat at Twickenham stadium in their final warm up match ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
It was England’s fifth defeat in six games.
The Flying Fijians were deserved winners as they thrived in testing stormy weather conditions, beating England in every single battle on the pitch.
Little went right for England with Steve Borthwick’s side struggling at the set piece and failing to consistently trouble a physical, accurate defence from the Flying Fijians.
The Fijian commitment in contact was ferocious. While they are known for their attacking brilliance, this deserved win was one founded on solid physical defence.
Fiji scored three second-half tries as England’s fragile defence struggled to contend with their power.
Selestino Ravutaumada and Waisea Nayacalevu were among the stars in Fijian white as they danced to 27 second half points on a famous day for Pacific Island rugby.
England salvaged hope late on when Joe Marchant’s try and George Ford’s conversion brought them within a point.
But Player of the Match Selestino Ravutaumada set up Simione Kuruvoli to seal a Fijian victory.
The day began with a sense of optimism for England as Courtney Lawes led out the hosts to mark his 100th cap.
However, by the time the full-time whistle sounded, the gloom around English rugby had deepened even further with their first defeat by a side from outside the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, two weeks before the World Cup in France.
Simon Raiwalui’s team, who were missing Levani Botia and Josua Tuisova, must surely now be considered contenders to make a semi final at the Rugby World Cup. Fiji are pooled with Wales, Australia and Georgia, all eminently beatable in Pool C.
England open their Pool D efforts against Argentina on Saturday 9 September.
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