Lacklustre England made a less-than-convincing start to their World Cup campaign with a 35-11 bonus-point victory over Fiji at Twickenham which will leave Australia and Wales scenting the hosts’ blood.
Two Mike Brown tries, a penalty try and a last-gasp Billy Vunipola score saw England prevail, but Stuart Lancaster’s men will need to improve dramatically ahead of next week’s clash with Wales to maintain hopes of advancing from Pool A ahead of their neighbours and the Wallabies.
Fiji were a nuisance and, but for missed kicks, might have pushed England closer, but instead had to settle for Nemani Nadolo’s try and two penalties.
In a first half punctuated by deferrals to the Television Match Official, England scored a penalty try, Brown crossed and George Ford kicked 11 points.
England were reprieved when referee Jaco Peyper belatedly deferred to the TMO after awarding a try to Nikola Matawalu.
Brown might have had a third after reaching Sam Burgess’ offload late on, but was stopped short before Vunipola secured a scarcely deserved bonus point.