The England vs Fiji game promises to be a very interesting game for a number of reasons.
The first one is that it might be considered a revenge match for England after their historic loss to Fiji in the warm-up games.
The second is that it feels like a changing of the guard. Out with the old and in with the new.
The third one is that both of these teams have been erratic in their lead-up to the World Cup and during the Pool games.
Let’s start with England;
They started out brightly with their win against Argentina and one can hardly be blamed for thinking “England was back!” even if just for a while. They were better than they had been for some time but not great.
They have improved steadily as the tournament wore on and there were some standout performances from a number of their players. It looked like they were getting better as a team with every game and up until the Samoa game you had to think “Here we go again…”
Then Samoa humbled them in a big way and a lot of the momentum built up and the structure that had started to get back into the England side started falling apart under the pressure. They came away with the narrow win but it could have easily gone the other way.
Fiji on the other hand were spectacular in their games against Wales and Australia putting them in a prime position to get to the quarter-finals. They won over a lot of rugby fans with the way they played and their clear love and passion for the game.
From there it looked like they were just hoping to coast the rest of the way a bit.
Georgia pushed them really hard all the way for a hard-fought victory that could have ended in Fiji losing that game at the death. They were lucky to come away with the win on the day!
They weren’t that lucky the 2nd time around. A hard-fought historic victory went Portugal’s way in the last round of the Pool games.
Fiji did however let their whole squad get in game time for these last two games, which was probably wise but it might have hurt them a little on the mental side of things.
I do however feel that this loss would fuel the Fijian side going into their quarter-final match with England.
Fiji has their best chance ever to reach an historic semi-final for the first time, while England are fighting to get back to their best.
Overall I do however feel that Fiji will take this one. It will be a brutal clash and there will be a lot of physicality between these two teams. It isn’t likely going to be pretty but it is going to be a massive match to watch.