England – Fiji: The English team secures a spot in the semi-finals thanks to an outstanding performance by Farrell.

The English team had a scare but managed to secure the win by defeating Fiji (30-24).

At the opening of this World Cup, England, who was struggling, regained their form and ultimately qualified for their sixth semi-final in history after a scare against the brave Fijians (30-24) on Sunday in Marseille. However, they will likely need to find other strategies besides relying on a reliable kicker (Farrell) if they hope to defeat the winner of the clash between France and South Africa, which will be held in the evening (9:00 PM) at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Saturday.

The English scared themselves.

Deux adversaires avec qui ils ont des comptes à régler: la fessée reçue des Bleus à Twickenham dans le Tournoi des Six Nations en mars (53-10) et la correction en finale du Mondial 2019 au Japon (32-12) par les Springboks. « Aux Fidji, les malades reviennent à la vie quand nous gagnons », expliquait cette semaine Seremaïa Baï, entraîneur adjoint fidjien.

During this 2023 World Cup, it was indeed the England rugby team that made a comeback by remaining undefeated in their Group D before erasing the humiliation they suffered at the end of August in their home ground of Twickenham, when they were defeated for the first time in their history (30-22) by the « Flying Fijians » in their last preparation match. However, Steve Borthwick’s men were on edge until the very end, allowing the Fijians to equalize (24-24) ten minutes before the final whistle.

Cinq minutes de folie fidjienne

After two almost identical attempts from their centers, Tuilagi (14th) and Marchant (23rd), in bulldozer mode, it was the kicker Farrell who added points to the scoreboard. And the Fijians seemed too inconsistent to truly disturb them, with the only moment of magic in the first half being the pass between the legs of fly-half Botitu for Mata’s try (28th), after recovering a loose ball about ten meters from the English try line.

But within the span of five minutes, everything almost changed for the England rugby team. A try by prop Ravai through sheer force (64th minute), followed by another try from fly-half Botitu, after an impressive breakthrough by second-row Nasilasila (69th minute): with both conversions, the Fijians had equalized. And England had conceded as many tries (3) in just one match as they had throughout the entire World Cup, despite their seemingly solid defense…

But it was ultimately the kicker Owen Farrell’s foot, with a drop goal first (72nd minute), and then a final penalty (77th minute), that sent England to the semi-finals, under the watchful eye of Princess of Wales Kate. A Farrell who has further widened the gap compared to the legend Jonny Wilkinson as the highest scorer in the history of the England rugby team (1,206 points against 1,179 now).

Therefore, reaching the semi-finals, thanks to a favorable draw and a Group D that did not present any strong opponents, except for a determined Argentina who also qualified for the semi-finals after their impressive performance against Wales on Saturday, the English team now has a week to further improve.

Les Anglais battus seulement une fois en demie

And hope to secure a fifth place in the final. While the bookmakers’ odds may not be in their favor, the numbers themselves are more reassuring: England has only been defeated once in their five semi-final encounters, in 1995, when they were crushed 45-29 by Jonah Lomu’s All Blacks. And they had defeated France in 2003 and 2007…

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