Chris Robshaw: Four years under his captaincy has led to this moment when the England captain will lead his country into a home World Cup. With the weight of a nation on his incredibly broad shoulders, Robshaw will be expected to give the 80,000+ in attendance plenty to cheer when they take on Fiji in what should be a winning start for England.
However, the Harlequins flanker is yet to win a tournament as England skipper after recording four consecutive second-place finishes in the Six Nations, and anything less than a semi-final appearance is likely to be deemed a failure at the World Cup.
Questions remain over his suitability on the openside, but the simple matter is that he is the best No 7 in the squad and no one has ever doubted his commitment.
England: Brown; Watson, Joseph, Barritt, May; Ford, B Youngs; Marler, T Youngs, Cole; Lawes, Parling; Wood, Robshaw, Morgan.
Replacements: Webber, M Vunipola, Brookes, Launchbury, B Vunipola, Wigglesworth, Farrell, Burgess.
England have never lost to Fiji in the five matches they have played against each other since their opening fixture in 1988, and have always managed to score at least three tries against the Fijians with their record being 10 tries in 1989.
England could only manage second in their Pool during the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and that meant a they would need to negotiate the quarter-final play-offs before reaching the last-eight. They met Fiji at Twickenham – although the World Cup was being hosted by Wales – where England opened with a try that would have looked more at home among the Pacific Islanders and the Red Rose. Playing the ball with reckless abandonment that nearly cost them possession in midfield, the play switched from right to left until it found wing Dan Luger, and the speed merchant burnt upfield beating three men before touching down under the posts. England would go on to win 45-24.
Player to watch…
Jonny May comes into the match brimming with confidence after scoring twice in the final warm-up victory over Ireland a fortnight ago. The Gloucester wing looks to have strengthened his defensive game while maintaining the attacking threat that stands him in with a shout of taking the top try scorer award should he find the ball that England will look to feed him out wide.
Past three meetings…
England 54 (Sharples 2, Penalty try, Monye, Johnson, Tuilagi) Fiji 12 (Matawalu, Qaraniqio), International Test, November 2012.
England 45 (Luger, Greening, Burger, Beal) Fiji 24 (Nakuta, Satala, Tikomaimakogai), Rugby World Cup, October 1999.
Fiji 12 (Seru) England 28 (R Underwood, Probyn, Andrew), International Test, July 1991.
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