England 27-24 Fiji – Rugby World Cup quarter-final LIVE: Peni Ravai capitalises on some sluggish English defending to power over

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog as England take on Fiji – who beat Steve Bortwhick’s side in their tournament preparations – in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

FULL TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

Fiji lose the ball as a penalty is given agains them while they go into contact and England kick the ball clear to advance to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

Relief for the Roses, dejection for Fiji as they went so close before falling just short. What a game that was as Steve Borthwick’s side manage to advance against a physcial opponent.

There aren’t many tougher physcial tests in world rugby than Fiji but England showed their grit and quality to get over the line as Owen Farrell remained the calmest man in the stadium to kick late vital kicks.

VAR check for deliberate knock-on (30-24)

Farrell hits the ball forward going for a tackle and a deliberate knock-on is given. The match goes on with Fiji needing a converted try to win this game.

Farrell scores penalty kick (30-24)

Fareell uses all his experience to run down the shot clock and boots over a hugely valuable three more points. Minutes left here as Fiji trail.

Sensational running from Ben Earl (27-24)

Th England forward has been brilliant today and times his interception to perfection as he powers through several tackles, showing some classy footwork and runs the length of the pitch before winning a penalty that should be kicked easily.

England replacement (27-24)

Tom Curry’s day is over as he walks off to be replaced by Billy Vunipola.

Fiji win lineout from the restart (27-24)

Lawes collects the ball but is shoved into touch. Fiji get a valuable lineout but knock the ball on as Lawes sacks the jumper.

DROP GOAL ENGLAND (27-24)

Farrell slots it over from close-range to give themselves a thre-point cushion. Over to Fiji again.

England building in Fiji’s five metre zone (24-24)

England have the ball in hand and begin to work through the phases with big forward play. They are setting up a drop goal here.

Try converted (24-24)

The kick is good and we are all square. This match could come down to a late drop goal at this rate. England have fallen apart.

TRY FIJI (24-22)

What on earth has happened to England’s defence! Radradra cuts a beautiful line before offloading to Kuruvoli who crosses the line. What an ending we have on our hands.

Penalty Fiji (24-17)

England are all over the place as they give away another sloppy penalty in the middle of the park. The kick bounces off the upright and back into play.

Try converted (24-17)

It’s a simple kick to complete the seven-point try. England’s lead down to seven.

TRY FIJI (24-15)

Beautiful rugby from Fiji as they get over the line, largely caused by England’s sloppy defending. They switch the play by going through the hands and Peni Ravai crosses the line.

England replacements (24-10)

England use their bench to help them get over the line.

Off – Genge, Mitchell, Cole

On – Marler, Care, Sinckler

Fists begin to fly (24-10)

There is a turnover for Fiji and Botia hits out at Curry. He catches the England flanker but faces no further punishment than a stern talking to.

Farrell’s kick falls short (24-10)

Farrell looks to try and add three more points from a penalty but Farrell’s kick falls short. Fiji run it back but are turned over.

FIji replacements (24-10)

Fiji are trailing by two converted scores and look to their bench for creativity.

Off – Lomani, Tagitagivalu

On – Kuruvoliat, Derenalagiat

Farrell kicks penalty points (24-10)

It’s easy for England’s fly-half right under the posts as Farrell extends England’s lead to 14 points.

England’s pressure beginning to wear Fiji down (21-10)

England have found their stride, Fiji haven’t as May wins a lineout for the leader’s deep in the opposition half. England win their lineout and go through the phases before an offside is given right in front of the posts.

England turnover through Lawes (21-10)

That is a huge turnover from Lawes who was so quick to react in the jackall five metres out from England’s try line. He claims the ball from Nayacalevu and there is relief in the Roses ranks.

England knock-on (21-10)

Fiji ship the ball quickly and make brilliant ground through Maqala before he is chopped down. Fiji have a scrum that they need to win.

Farrell’s clearances out on the full (21-10)

The England captain tries to find touch but overcooks his kick and it goes out on the full to give Fiji a lineout just inside the Roses half.

Fiji penalty (21-10)

England get their maul rollling but a couple of tackles later are pinged for bringing it down as Fiji claim a valuable penalty. England win the following lineout from a lose Fiji throw.

England penalty (21-10)

Fiji handle the ball at the bottom of the ruck and Farrell goes for the corner as England look to set-up another try.

Kicking game ensues (21-10)

Neither side can get clean ball as they are forced into a series of kicking to both ends. England then get the ball, Farrell’s dinked effort runs to the corner and it’s some last-ditch defending from the Pacific nation.

Back underway! England 21-10 Fiji

England restart the game and find touch deep in the Fiji half after a couple of phases.

Half-Time! England 21-10 Fiji

England take the lead into the break after Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant both cross the tryline in the first half.

It was a physical 40 minutes of rugby with both England and Fiji showing their power at the breakdown and in the tackle.

Fiji got a try back after Viliame Mata crashed over the try line to get one back for Fiji.

Lomani kept the scoreboard ticking over for Fiji but missed two penalties in the first half, with Owen Farrell kicking three to keep England ahead.

England's fly-half and captain Owen Farrell scores a penalty during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between England and Fiji at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, south-eastern France, on October 15, 2023. (Photo by Pascal GUYOT / AFP) (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Marcus Smith of England in action during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

England reap the rewards of their counter rucking

We’re five minutes to half-time and England have won a penalty here thanks to some briliant counter rucking.

They manage to force Fiji to concede a penalty in their own half, with the Pacific Islanders unable to secure the ball after taking it into contact.

Farrell makes no mistake from the tee, putting England 21-10 up.

Fiji bring the ball back upfield at the restart and England have halted them in their tracks, with Ben Earl dominating at the breakdown to win another penalty.

Action Shots!

Owen Farrell has just put the score up to 18-10 with a penalty.

Habosi is meanwhile back on the pitch following his yellow card.

It was reviewed by the bumker review system but it was adjudged not to be deserved of a red card after Smith had seemed to change direction immediately before the tackle.

Fiji's number eight Viliame Mata dives and scores his team's first try   during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between England and Fiji at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, southeastern France, on October 15, 2023. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)
England's outside centre Joe Marchant (L) scores a try despite Fiji's blindside flanker Lekima Tagitagivalu (C) and Fiji's scrum-half Frank Lomani during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between England and Fiji at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, south-eastern France, on October 15, 2023. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
England's Manu Tuilagi dives in to score his sides first try during the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-final match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Sunday October 15, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup England. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Wow it’s not often you see that!

Courtney Lawes ahs just been picked up and escorted off the pitch by Lomani and several of his team-mates in what is a huge tackle on the towering blindside!

TRY – FIJI!

We spoke about their brilliant offloading game at the start of the match and they’ve absolutely torn England’s defence open there.

It’s Mata who crashes over under the posts for the Fijians after several phases of play, with the Pacific Islanders throwing some excellent offloads.

Tom Curry was treading a tightrope there too as it looked as though he had made a high tackle in the build up.

Lomani misses another kick

Fiji have another shot at goal thanks to England’s poor discipline at the breakdown again but England get lucky, with the scrum half sending the ball wide of the posts.

Yellow card for Habosi

It’s unfortunate for the Fijian wing as it seemed like Smith had made a change in direction, yet it is a yellow card for Habosi after he clashed heads with Marcus Smith in the phases before Tuilagi’s try.

We’ve just seen a nasty picture of Smith and his shirt is totally covered in blood after the high tackle.

TRY – ENGLAND!

The TMO is reviewing this – it looks like there might have been a high tackle on Marcus Smith in the build up here.

But Joe Marchant has just crashed over for England’s second try.

Itoje intercepts and charges 50m upfield

Stunning read of the play from Maro Itoje! He steps out of the England back line at the exact right moment to intercept the pass and break forward around 50m upfield.

None of the Fijian defenders can get him, with the second row using his strong hand off to fend off the tacklers.

But his work comes to no avail.

The referee has pulled play back to the England 22, after Tom Curry was seen by the TMO to have made a no arms tackle.

Fiji convert the penalty to get three points on the boaard.

Fiji’s counter rucking pays off

We’re back underway after the try and Marcus Smith has picked up the ball in midfield.

He dances his way into a swarm of Fijian defenders but gets isolated, with the Fijian’s showing their brilliance at the ruck to turn the ball over.

They win a penalty but can’t convert!

TRY – ENGLAND – Tuilagi

Tuilagi crashes over on the left wing after a brilliant piece of play from the England forwards driving at the line from a lineout.

It’s his first England try in two years after scoring against the Spring Boks.

He receives the ball at the back of the break down with Mitchell popping the ball off to him on the left, and he still has a lot of work to do to touch down over the line – twisting away from the Fiji defenders to get the first try of the match.

Farrell cant convert – hitting the post!

England on the press!

But Fiji can’t make good their field position and England advance up the other end of the field.

They’ve won a penalty in front of the posts for a high tackle on Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell slots the ball through the posts to get England’s first score of the match.

Fiji win a big penalty!

7′ England have conceded two penalties already after being isolated at the breakdown and Fiji are now able to put the pressure on their opponents going for touch with the penalty kick from around half-way.

Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales has been spotted in the audience a day after Prince William and Prince George were spotted watching Wales’ defeat to Argentina.

The Princess of Wales in the stands with Bill Beaumont, the chairperson of World Rugby (right) before the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-final match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Sunday October 15, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup England. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Some big hits going in!

It’s been a physical opening three minutes.

England’s brick wall defence have put some huge hits in so far.

Owen Farrell also left a slightly late shot in on his opposite number Botiu.

That was a close one but the refree waves play on.

Kick off!

Farrell gets us underway! He sends it down into the Fijian 22 and they return the ball back upfield.

Smith collects at full-back and plays the ball out wide. England crash the ball forward and enjoyed a bright piece of possession play. But they conceed a penalty and it’s Fiji in possession.

Okay we’re ready to go here!

Looks like England are kicking off first!

Here’s a quick re-cap on the starting line-ups.

England XV: 15 Smith; 14 May, 13 Marchant, 12 Tuilagi, 11 Daly;10 Farrell (capt), 9 Mitchell; 1 Genge, 2 George, 3 Cole, 4 Itoje, 5 Chessum, 6 Lawes, 7 Curry, 8 Earl.

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

Fiji XV: 15 Droasese; 14 Habosi, 13 Nayacalevu (capt), 12 Tuisova, 11 Radradra; 10 Botitu, 9 Lomani; 1 Mawi, 2 Ikanivere, 3 Tagi, 4 Nasilasila, 5 Tuisue, 6 Tagitagivalu, 7 Botia, 8 Mata.

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

Here come the national anthems

Plenty of England and Fiji fans in the house today as well. But we’ve spotted plenty of other shirts too including several golden Australian australian shirts.

England's fans cheer before the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between England and Fiji at the Stade de Marseille in Marseille, France, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
English players line up ahead of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match between England and Fiji at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, south-eastern France, on October 15, 2023. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: The players of Fiji form a huddle prior to kick-off ahead of the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Big cheers go up for Marcus Smith and George Ford

A word from our reporter Nik Simon who is at Stade Velodrome today…

‘Biggest cheers of the team announcement go to Marcus Smith and George Ford. Smith is the golden boy wherever he goes.

‘It’s harder to gauge the reaction for Owen Farrell – the noise goes up but it almost sounds like a groan of disapproval.’

‘We have gone into the week to enjoy the occasion’ – Simon Raiwalui

Speaking to ITV Sport ahead of the match Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui said his side were looking to enjoy the occasion today.

‘We have gone into this week to enjoy the occasion and try and free the boys up a little bit.

‘England have improved since the warm-up game, they are a good tournament team with good basics and they will try a tactical game to try and exploit us.

‘We have picked the team on form, the strength of the group is with 33 players ready to go and the 23 will do the job today.’

Fiji are hoping to put England to sleep today in Marseille

A win today will book Fiji a place in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup for the first time in their last three appearances at the tournament.

And forwards coach Graham Dewes says his side are high in confidence ahead of the match.

‘We don’t plan to do it but things happen on the day. When we play the tier-one nations, if we get it right we put them to sleep.’

‘If Scott Robertson had been given the England job, Marcus Smith would be the starting fly-half’ – Mike Brown

This will be Marcus Smith’s second game starting at full-back after an excellent performance at the base of the back three against Chile.

During that game, he scored twice to help England complete a huge 71-0 victory against the South American side.

He was dropped for Freddie Steward in the following match against Samoa. The Leicester No 15 notably scored during England’s win against Japan, taking a cross field kick from George Ford to dot down in the corner.

Yet former Harlequins and England full-back, Mike Brown, has had his say on the decision to play Smith at full-back.

‘If Scott Robertson had been given the England job instead of Steve Borthwick, then Marcus would probably be the starting fly-half.

‘It would be his team and he would have been given time, comfort, guidance and support to flourish in that position. Ultimately you want Marcus in the team because he’s one of the most promising players in the world and he’s brilliant to watch.’

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Marcus Smith of England looks on prior tog the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

England will face a very confident Fijian side in Marseille

Steve Borthwick has also been speaking on today’s opposition.

Fiji have enjoyed a brilliant campaign so far, having reached the knockout stages for the first time in their last four Rugby World Cup appearances.

‘Clearly this Fijian team is packed full of power and pace and is clearly very confident,’ Borthwick told ITV Sport.

‘The messages they’ve been putting out publicly show they’re a very confident team coming into this game.

‘For us, we need to make sure all our players, one to 15, all the bench that come on to the pitch, are alive for every second of the game today.’

England manager Steve Borthwick (left) with Maro Itoje before the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-final match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Sunday October 15, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup England. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Quarter Final - England v Fiji - Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France - October 15, 2023 England head coach Steve Borthwick during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq
England head coach Steve Borthwick (left) with Tom Curry before the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-final match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Sunday October 15, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU World Cup England. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

‘It’s a sign of the great strength and depth this teeam has’: Steve Borthwick speaks on his selection decisions

Ahead of the match, Steve Borthwick has spoken on his decision to bring Marcus Smith and Owen Farrel in at No 10 and No 15 in place of George Ford and Freddie Steward.

The decision has raised eyebrows among many supporters but Borthwick said to ITV Sport ahead of the match that the decision shows just how much depth his squad has.

‘The first thing you’d say is what a sign of the great strength and depth this team and squad has. We’ve got 33 fit players all of incredible quality. All desperate to be on the pitch today. As ever I go through that process [picking his team] the plan we wish to play, the team we’re playing against and get the right blend of players for the performance we want on the day.

‘I can’t wait to see these players go today.’

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Owen Farrell of England takes to the field for the warm up prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 15: Marcus Smith of England takes to the field for the warm up prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Michael Steele - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Sir Clive Woodward has slammed the decision to omit Arundell

Sir Clive Woodward has branded the decision to omit Henry Arundell from today’s match against Fiji as ‘madness’.

‘On the whole, the team still isn’t quick enough for me — even if it should be good enough to beat Fiji. I still don’t understand why Henry Arundell can’t get a game,’ the 2003 World Cup winning coach wrote in his column with Mail Sport.

‘To me, it’s absolute madness. What a waste it is to have a player of Arundell’s undoubted quality carrying the water.

‘I would have him at full back alongside a couple of the flyers who did not even make the trip. Overall, from one to 15, this is not a fast enough team to win a World Cup.’

Should Steve Borthwick have left out Henry Arundell?

After his stand out performance scoring five tries during England’s victory against Chile, Henry Arundell was omitted from the team’s last outing against Samoa and today’s match against Fiji.

The decision has left many England Supporters scratching their heads.

Reports emerged earlier this week that there had been some words exchanged between the England captain, Farrell, and the winger that had upset Arundell.

Today, Steve Borthwick has opted to pick Elliot Daly and Jonny May as his wide men. And while both players have performed well during the tournament, questions have been raised over whether Arundell deserves to start.

Let us know whether you think Arundell should have featured in this afternoon’s match in the comments.

England and Fiji are in the house!

Fiji team to play England

It’s approximately 50 days since Fiji defeated England for the first time in their history at Twickenham in a resounding 22-30 triumph and Simon Raiwalui’s side will be buoyed in confidence having also defeated Australia during the group stages of the World Cup.

Fiji possess bags of quality all around the park. They are physical, quick and will most likely look to break through England’s defence today with their fast hands and excellent offloading skill.

At the breakdown, Levani Botia will be a huge weapon Fiji will look to deploy to slow down England’s attack. He is perhaps one of the best jacklers in World Rugby at the moment and will be a menace on the deck for Borthwick’s side.

He’s partnered in the back row today by No 8 Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata, who is one of the biggest carriers in the Fijian side and can be dangerous with his brilliant offloading play.

Sam Matavesi has moved to the bench following the death of his father, Sireli, with Tevita Ikanivere coming in to the front row in his place.

Albert Tuisue has also come in to add more ballast at second row.

Fiji XV: 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.

Is this the biggest game of Steve Borthwick’s career?

Ahead of today’s game, Mail Sport’s columnist Sir Clive Woodward has said that Sunday afternoon’s game against Fiji may be the biggest test in Steve Borthwick’s career.

‘Here comes the biggest day in Steve Borthwick’s coaching career. Knockout rugby brings incredible pressure,’ he wrote.

‘It’s win or bust. If England beat Fiji in Marseille, then Borthwick will have taken his side into a World Cup semi-final.

‘For a team like England that should not be the ultimate ambition because, given the country’s playing numbers and pedigree, we should always be aiming to win the tournament.’

England look focused as they prepare to travel to the Stade Velodrome

We’re not far away from kick-off which is scheduled for 4pm (GMT) and England are on their way to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

England’s starting XV

Are England caught between playing styles?

In some ways, the ammount of talent Steve Borthwick has to choose from is not a bad thing, but it seems his selection calls of late have raised eyebrows among many.

Mail Sport’s columnist Mike Brown is one of them, who believes picking Marcus Smith at full-back instead of Freddie Smith shows that England may be scratching their heads when it comes to figuring out the style of rugby they want to play.

Smith will come into the side for his second start at No 15, while Owen Farrell will also take the No 10 shirt with George Ford, who has impressed at fly-half so far during the tournament dropping to the bench.

England XV: 15 Smith; 14 May, 13 Marchant, 12 Tuilagi, 11 Daly;10 Farrell (capt), 9 Mitchell; 1 Genge, 2 George, 3 Cole, 4 Itoje, 5 Chessum, 6 Lawes, 7 Curry, 8 Earl.

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

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 14: Marcus Smith of England lines up a pass during the Captain's Run at Stade Georges Carcassonne on October 14, 2023 in Aix-en-Provence, France.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Good afternoon and welcome!

Welcome to Mail Sport’s coverage of England against Fiji! We’re gearing up for a huge afternoon of rugby as England look to book their place in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup with a victory this afternoon.

But it will be a tough match, with the Pacific Islanders in flying form coming into this quarter-final clash.

Steve Borthwick’s side haven’t been at their best throghout the tournament, but have managed to stay unbeaten so far in the group stages, claiming wins against Argentina, Samoa, Chile and Japan.

Fiji come into this game having already beaten Borthwick’s side this summer, their first victory over England at Twickenham in August.

Whoever advances form this huge clash will have a tough match ahead of them. They’ll play the victor of tonight’s monumental clash between France and South Africa.

So stay with us as we’ll be bringing you all the latest team news next!

Key Updates

  • FULL TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

  • Farrell scores penalty kick (30-24)

  • DROP GOAL ENGLAND (27-24)

  • Try converted (24-24)

  • TRY FIJI (24-22)

  • Try converted (24-17)

  • TRY FIJI (24-15)

  • Farrell kicks penalty points (24-10)

  • TRY – ENGLAND – Tuilagi

  • Okay we’re ready to go here!

  • Fiji team to play England

  • England’s starting XV



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