England vs Fiji LIVE: Rugby World Cup 2023 result and reaction after thrilling finish to quarter-final

England 30-24 Fiji: Owen Farrell kicked the vital points at the death to steer the Red Rose through to the semi-finals

Ben Fleming
Sunday 15 October 2023 18:50 BST
Rugby World Cup: Prince William says he won’t let Wales’ Dan Biggar retire

England are through to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals after surviving a late Fiji comeback in Marseille.

Owen Farrell kicked the vital points required to steer Steve Borthwikck’s side through to a final four clash against either hosts France or defending champions South Africa, but only after Fiji levelled the contest at 24-24 with two quick-fire tries through prop Peni Ravai and flyhalf Vilimoni Botitu.

Fiji will rue three relatively simple shots at goal that were missed, as well as unforced errors that eased the pressure on England. Centres Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant scored first-half tries and Farrell was unerring with the boot, including a late drop-goal. England led 21-10 at halftime and looked in total control of the game for the first 60 minutes before holding off a stern Fijian challenge in the final quarter.

England reach their sixth World Cup semi-final and will go in search of a fifth final appearance when they meet hosts France or South Africa in the last four. They play later on Sunday in Paris.

Follow all the action from Marseille and get all the latest Rugby World Cup odds and tips right here:


Owen Farrell silences critics as England survive Fiji fightback

It had to be him. At a ground where his great mate George Ford had produced one of the special individual World Cup performances just weeks ago, Owen Farrell fashioned his own version of a Marseille masterpiece, silencing the critics with a 20-point tally and his best showing in an England shirt for years.

And how England needed their captain. This was eventually an incredibly tight game against a valiant Fiji, so nearly victorious after summoning a second-half comeback seemingly from nowhere. It may have lacked the pure accuracy and ingenuity of Ireland vs New Zealand, but this was a compelling contest all the same, played with a hellacious physicality throughout.

At various stages, England looked to be roaring into the semi-finals but found a 14-point second-half lead eroded quickly by a fabulous Fijian fightback, Levani Botia and Semi Radradra threatening to bend the game to their will. Certainly neither deserves to be exiting the World Cup at this stage.

But, in the end, it was Farrell with the final word, as fate dictated. If the fly half had played more consistently like this in an England shirt, there would not even be a debate at 10 – though this was an excellent time to return to full form, leading his team into a second successive tournament semi-final.

Read Harry Latham-Coyle’s full match report from Marseille below:

Owen Farrell silences critics as England survive Fiji fightback

England 30-24 Fiji: The fly half collected 20 points to lead his side into the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:30

What’s next?

England will play either South Africa or France in Paris next Saturday night. What a cracker that promises to be.

South Africa’s game against France is right around the corner, with kick-off at 8pm BST.

Click the link below to head over and catch all the build-up to that encounter:

France v South Africa LIVE: Rugby World Cup 2023 score and latest updates

The defending champion Springboks take on host France in Paris for a place in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:41

FULL-TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

Celebrating at full-time:

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:39

England number eight Ben Earl, speaking to ITV

“I’m just over the moon and it’s still not really sunk in. I’m so proud of the boys - the staff, the whole squad. It looked a bit shaky at one point there didn’t it but I think the experience shone through in the end. Not many players in the world put themselves in the pocket like Owen [Farrell] did and slot three.”

On his surging late run: “It just opened up for me and was a bit instinctual but just pleased to contribute in any way and I can’t wait for next week now.

“We thought when we played them last time at Twickenham that they upped us physically so defensively we had moments we didn’t like watching back but today we will be a bit happier to watch it back.

“Hopefully, we see a lot more of our true self when we what that game back and it’s a testament to the work we’ve been doing on and off the pitch.”

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:36

Steve Borthwick, England coach, speaking to ITV

“I thought the players were magnificent; the whole squad worked very hard to get that result tonight - every one of the 33 - but I think it’s important to give immense credit to Fiji. They played tremendously well tonight and have had a fantastic World Cup but we’re delighted that we’ve found a way to win that game.

“For the vast majority of that game, we were in control. There was a spell midway through the second half where they scored back-to-back tries. They are probably the only team in the world who can do it like they do. They are just incredible.

“What I was really pleased about was the players and they way they handled it on the pitch thereafter. A lot has been written about these players and this England team over the last period but what I see is a group of players that can handle these occasions and rise to these occasions and they are rewarded for their work.

“We’ve had great week it’s been a brilliant part of the world to prepare but Paris is a bit special so we are looking forward to it.

“We don’t forget there’s a fair number of people who said we won’t make it out of the group and a fair number who said we would lose tonight and we’re going to be written off again I’m sure. But this team is determined to be successful.”

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:28

Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui speaking after the game to ITV

“I’m a bit speechless at the minute but I couldn’t be prouder of the boys. We’ve worked so hard from week one. 15 weeks, now, and they’ve shown we belong on the world stage. It’s a bit of an emotional moment/

“This is a different Fijian team and the start of something special. They wanted to create a new identity and they’ve done that. A couple of mistakes today when we didn’t take our chances and we paid for it but like I said I couldn’t be prouder of this group.

“This World Cup has been unbelievable in terms of support for the game; the positivity of the global game not just the top-tier teams. You’ve got some wonderful games going on all throughout the tournament and it just shows the game is in a healthy state and we need to capitalise on that moving forward.”

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:19

Owen Farrell, England captain, speaking to ITV after the game

“It feels good at the minute. Glad to get the job done and the fight we showed in the end against a top outfit in Fiji. There’s plenty still to go and to work on for us. It’s a good place for us to be and we’ll get after it heading into next week.”

On the defensive effort at the end: “We felt pretty calm. Obviously, the skill and power of Fiji can always hurt you at any time so you have to be on high alert and I thought we were. Ben [Earl] did a great job of getting us up the other end of the pitch to get another penalty. I wish I didn’t give away that penalty at the end - it would have been a bit easier - but the boys held on.”

On the drop goal: “We just wanted to come away from the 22 with points. We were drawing at the time and the forwards did a good job of getting us a platform and thankfully I was able to put it up.”

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:11

FULL-TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

A classic encounter:

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 18:03

FULL-TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

They may have fallen just short, but what a superb comeback that was from Fiji in that second half. Here’s a look at their two second-half tries:

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 17:59

FULL-TIME: England 30-24 Fiji

Ben Earl is full of smiles as the camera pans his way. What a tournament he is having and what a run that was in the final few moments to win that huge penalty for his side late on.

Ben Fleming15 October 2023 17:56

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