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England talking points ahead of Rugby World Cup opener

Published 17/09/2015

Stuart Lancaster's side kick off the tournament on Friday
Stuart Lancaster's side kick off the tournament on Friday

England open the 2015 World Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday. Here Press Association Sport examines some of the game's talking points.

FORM LINE

Four successive runners-up finishes in the RBS 6 Nations are evidence of an England team that has yet to scale the heights and mixed fortunes in the warm-up games against France and Ireland have added to the uncertainty. Fiji will offer a good gauge of the team's health.

PRESSURE COOKER TWICKENHAM

Stuart Lancaster and his coaching team have made all the right noises about England being ready to embrace he expectation that comes with being tournament hosts. A tight match against Fiji will speak volumes about their temperament on the big occasion.

FIJI'S SET PIECE

England have stated their gameplan extends far beyond targeting Fiji's scrum, but they know that even after months of drilling by head coach John McKee the set piece remains a weakness to be exploited. The Red Rose will demand forward dominance.

FIJIAN MAGICIANS

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu, Nemani Nadolo and Niki Goneva are Fiji's main threats and if England allow the game to become loose and fragmented, it will suit the Islanders' devastating backs.

REPRECUSSIONS FOR WALES AND AUSTRALIA

Events at Twickenham will make important viewing for England's Pool A rivals Wales and Australia, who will be analysing the hosts' weaknesses as they plot their route out of the toughest group in World Cup history.

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