England v Fiji: talking points ahead of kick-off at Twickenham
England open the 2015 World Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on Friday evening. We examine some of the game's talking points.
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.
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.
Belfast Telegraph Digital