England defeated Fiji by 14 tries to send a message about the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
Despite a challenging first half, England defeated Fiji 84-19 to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign in Auckland’s Eden Park, extending the tournament favourites’ winning record to 26 games.
The championships began a year later than planned due to the coronavirus, and this was the first time the two teams had met in the 16 years they have coexisted at the international level, so the match was a long time coming for both teams. Fiji, who were making their World Cup debut, weren’t going to let the Red Roses have their way on such a significant occasion. So it turned out in a thrilling first 40 minutes.
The England captain, Sarah Hunter, commented, “They shook us a little bit in the first half with their aggressiveness and their willingness to run the ball.” “We managed to get back to being England and turned the game around in the second half,” said the team.
The Fijiana made their intentions clear right on with a powerful run from the opening kickoff by the outstanding No. 8 Karalaini Naisewa. Her and the prop Siteri Rasolea’s bullocking runs served as the foundation for the debutant side’s running and offloading strategy. Their efforts were rewarded with two tries in the first half.
The wide back When Alowesi Nakoci was found on the right, Roela Radiniyavuni’s lateral drift over the defence was punctuated by a step and go that left her in open space and gave the winger a clear path to the goal. Following England’s scramble’s failure to contain the Fijiana’s offensive width, the brilliant Sesenieli Donu added another. The fact that they had 14 players left after the captain, Sereima Leweniqila, was issued a yellow card for collapsing an oncoming England maul close to the line made this feat all the more remarkable.
The Red Roses ran in four tries to earn a bonus point in the first half, leading 24-14 at the half thanks to their intimidating physicality and brutal directness, which was on display throughout it all. Amy Cokayne, a hooker, Abbie Ward, a lock, and Claudia MacDonald, a wing, all scored touchdowns that started with England’s renowned lineout drive.
Some may have hoped for a second 40 minutes as reasonably contested and balanced as the first during the 15 minutes the teams spent in the locker rooms. Not to be, unfortunately. Another 10 tries were scored after the break as Fiji appeared more and more physically and mentally worn out by the onslaught thanks to England’s focus on their strong suits: power, precision, fitness, and game management.
The second period’s first possession, when Cockayne again scored from the back of a maul that marched 10 metres from a lineout to the line, signalled a shift in momentum for Simon Middleton’s team. This provided the framework for a second half that consisted of 39 minutes of one-way travel. Lydia Thompson scored two goals, and MacDonald added three more tries to her total, including one after a late-game diagonal run that took so long that her calf cramped.
Abby Dow had a great moment when she scored a fend and go on the right with her first touch as a substitute during the wing’s amazing recovery from a terrible leg injury. Fiji was left clinging to the England players and some kind of a defensive ego as Zoe Aldcroft, Connie Powell, and Leanne Infante crossed. But Fiji came back, with Lavena Cavuru scoring just before the final horn when her team finally made a visit to England’s 22.
Coach Senirusi Seruvakula of Fiji stated, “I’m really happy of these girls. We were facing a professional outfit and they really got stuck in the first half. Middleton of England concurred, saying, “First half was a really challenging game. I’m incredibly pleased with the fact that we carried through in the second half what we promised. England’s next opponents, France, defeated South Africa 40-5 in their opening Pool C match earlier on Saturday.