Rugby League World Cup: England beat Fiji to reach quarter-finals
Last Updated: 11/11/13 7:53am
Sam Burgess is tackled by Daryl Millard and Petero Civoniceva (R)
England overcame a slow start and a six-point deficit to secure a World Cup quarter-final berth with a 34-12 victory over Fiji.
The Islanders kept their hosts scoreless for more than half an hour, then went ahead through Tariq Sims' try, only for England to quickly hit back with Kevin Sinfiled's try and conversion before the break.
But England sparked into life after half time, scoring five tries in 15 minutes and finally playing the sort of attacking rugby which might - just might - give the Kiwis and Kangaroos a fright later in the tournament.
After a cagey start, the first scoring opportunity arrived on 14 minutes when right winger Tom Briscoe got to Sam Tomkins' high kick and centre Kallum Watkins collected the loose ball, but Shane Millard and winger Marika Koroibete scrambled to haul him down five metres short of the line.
There was an ugly moment five minutes later when Fiji loose forward Korbin Sims was put on report for a "spear" tackle on James Graham.
England ran the penalty and almost scored when Sam Burgess burst through the defensive line only to lose the ball in Ashton Sims' tackle as he reached out for the line.
At the other end Tomkins and Rangi Chase were forced to combine for a try-saving tackle, then England escaped conceding after Tomkins fumbled a grubber kick on his line and Tariq Sims touched down, but the video ref ruled Tomkins had been tackled without the ball.
But Fiji were not denied for long as a superb long pass from Daryl Millard took out two defenders and Tariq Sims hit the hole and broke the England line, with Eloni Vunakece on his shoulder to take the pass and trot in by posts. Wes Naiqama converted.
England hit back within four minutes as Sinfield threw a dummy and attacked the line 10 metres out, getting his arms free of the tackle to put Ben Westwood over on his inside, before converting for 6-6 at the half.
The second half belonged almost exclusively to England and the tone was set right from the kick-off.
Sinfield's kick bounced and was recovered by England and moments later Rob Burrow's pass sent Sam Burgess battling his way through four defenders to the line to score.
Fiji were almost immediately offside and after a Rangi Chase feint and delayed pass, Brett Ferres raced through to score.
On 50 minutes Fiji failed to find touch with a penalty and England took full advantage. Chase's cut-out pass put Ryan Hall in space but the winger still had to fight his way past two defenders before finishing superbly in the corner.
Two minutes later England scored their best try with a 60-metre move involving Sinfield, Chris Hill and George Burgess, finished off by Burrow.
Fiji were reeling and a sweeping move across the width of the pitch gave Hall a much easier finish for his second try. Sinfield missed that conversion after slotting the previous five, but at 34-6 the game was already won.
Fiji gave themselves a lift ahead of their own likely quarter-final appearance by having the last word with a fine finish from winger Semi Radrada.
2013 Rugby League World Cup
This years' Rugby League World Cup has been hailed as the greatest of all time by the organisers. Australia claimed their 10th title by beating New Zealand in the final in front of a record attendance.
RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is confident the sport will capitalise on the success of hosting the World Cup.
We take a look back at the highs and occasional low from probably the best World Cup to date.
- Hetherington wants more cups
- Wallace commits to Scotland
- Widdop left gutted by defeat
- Tomkins devastated by defeat
- Burgess defends brother George
- Johnson expresses relief
- Kangaroos leap into final
- Sheens tribute to Civoniceva
- Australia v Fiji: Teams
- Burgess out to deny Williams
- Aussies wary of physical Fiji
- Foran highlights main threats
- Two video refs for World Cup
- Civoniceva gets Wembley buzz
- Fiji too strong for Samoa
- England disappoint McNamara
- England stroll into semis
- Sheens retains Slater hope
- Australia put USA to the sword
- Samoa v Fiji: Teams
- Williams injury played down
- Kiwis stroll into semis
- Sheens: Slater has learned
- Brough set for toughest test
- Scots ready for biggest task
- Kiwis wary of Henderson
- Farah dropped for US clash