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15 September 2015

The Flying Fijian team to give England a scare!

The day has finally arrived for Stuart Lancaster’s England side to put months of gruelling preparation into practice when they run out at Twickenham in this evening’s Rugby World Cup 2015 opening Pool A fixture.

Organisers England 2015 have done a tremendous job on the ground putting together one of the biggest sporting events on Earth and all are hopeful that the Rugby on show lives up to the spectacle.

I had the pleasure of Paragon rugby client Manasa Saulo’s company at the Fiji RWC 2015 base last weekend and I was delighted to see a twinkle in the tight head prop’s eye ahead of what will be the biggest game of both his and many of the Fijian players careers to date. The air of excitement around the camp is credit to their head coach John Mckee and his backroom staff which includes Moses Rauluni as Defensive coach. A Fiji rugby legend himself and many will remember Rauluni from his playing days at Aviva Premiership giants Saracens.

Up front in Glasgow Warriors lock Leone Nakawara Fiji have got a gem of a player, whose skills with ball in hand and aerial ability could easily make him a star of the Harlem Globetrotters. Then behind the scrum, Nemani Nadolo on the wing is an absolute monster. Anthony Watson one of the real standouts for England in the Spring during the RBS Six Nations and in the recent World Cup Warm up games will have to be on guard as the giant Canterbury Crusader comes down his channel. Watson is a physical specimen himself and alongside England fullback Mike Brown, the Bath man promises to be one to watch for the host nation throughout the tournament.

There is no doubt that Fiji with all to gain will bring it to England tonight which is why the role of England’s back row will be crucial in the outcome of this one. Skipper Chris Robshaw was a man mountain in the final warm up fixture vs Ireland two weeks ago and alongside No.8 Ben Morgan and flanker Tom Wood will need to dominate once again around the fringes where the highly skilful Fijian outfit pose a threat with their footwork and explosive power.

Don’t be surprised if Fiji shock all watching on at a packed out Twickenham with an early try. It will be how Lancaster’s men react to the Fijian’s potential ill-discipline in the set piece which could put England out of sight when it comes to the score board. I expect George Ford to keep the score board ticking over with the boot and the imposing Brad Barritt to be an enforcer in England’s midfield both in attack and defence allowing the fleet footed Jonathan Joseph to come more and more into it as the game goes on.

I for one can’t wait until it all gets underway at 8pm tonight.

England to win by 10.


Written By Mike Martin