England vs Fiji LIVE rugby: Result and reaction as Pacific Islanders secure historic win

England take on Fiji at Twickenham in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture

Harry Latham-Coyle
at Twickenham
Saturday 26 August 2023 20:04 BST
England captain Owen Farrell suspended for first two games of Rugby World Cup

England hit a new low ahead of the Rugby World Cup after suffering a first ever defeat to Fiji.

The Pacific Islanders were deserved 30-22 winners on a stormy afternoon at Twickenham, thriving in testing conditions as England were beaten for the first time by a Tier Two nation.

It was a day where little went right for England after a bright start, with Steve Borthwick’s side struggling at the set piece and failing to consistently trouble a physical, accurate visiting defence.

Selestino Ravutaumada and Waisea Nayacalevu were among the stars in Fijian white as they danced to 27 second half points on a famous day for Pacific Island rugby.

And Simon Raiwalui’s team, who were missing Levani Botia and Josua Tuisova, must surely now be considered contenders to make a semi final at least at the tournament in France, with Wales, Australia and Georgia all eminently beatable in Pool C.

Borthwick and England, meanwhile, will head to their World Cup training base in Le Touquet on Thursday having won just once in their last six games.

England open their Pool D efforts against Argentina on Saturday 9 September.

Follow all the latest from England vs Fiji below.


England slump to defeat against Fiji as dismal Rugby World Cup build-up continues

England’s dismal build-up to the World Cup reached its lowest ebb as they collapsed to their first defeat to a current tier-two nation by losing 30-22 to Fiji at Twickenham.

Jonny May raced over to seize an early lead but what followed will have shaken head coach Steve Borthwick as England were outplayed by a side they had dispatched in all seven previous meetings.

Waisea Nayacalevu and Vinaya Habosi touched down to propel Fiji in front and, although tries by Marcus Smith and Joe Marchant hinted that a seismic upset might be avoided, the Islanders had other ideas.

The leaky home defence cracked one final time in the 73rd minute, with Simione Kuruvoli delivering the decisive blow to wrap up a historic victory that will create shockwaves ahead of the World Cup.

England slump to defeat against Fiji as dismal Rugby World Cup build-up continues

England 22-30 Fiji: Simione Kuruvoli delivered the decisive blow to wrap up a historic victory at Twickenham as the hosts faltered again

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 18:09

Courtney Lawes also gives his reaction after a tough afternoon on cap number 100

“it’s pretty disappointing, obviously. We just weren’t good enough in terms of the tackle area. We let them get their offload going and we paid for it.

“Like I said last week, we aren’t going to give up.”

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 18:07

Steve Borthwick reacts after England defeat

“We are bitterly disappointed with it. Credit [Fiji] with an excellent performance. They pushed France very hard last week in France. I think they are going to do very well at the World Cup and there is the potential that we may meet them again in a few days time.

“Our focus is to be ready for Argentina. These games through warm-up are to make sure you are ready for the tournament and see the areas that you need to develop. Argentina will pose a different challenge and our approach will be steered very much towards what is required against Argentina.

“Everybody around the England team care deeply about the team and English rugby. We are very disappointed with the result today and some aspects of the performance.”

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 18:05

Steve Borthwick reacts after England defeat

“Firstly I congratulate Fiji on their performance and deserved victory. They took their chances really well. We are bitterly disappointed. If you fall off that many tackles against a team like Fiji, they are going to score tries.

“We have two weeks to be very focussed on the performance that is required to beat Argentina. I thought the team started positively but made too many errors and slipped off too many tackles.”

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 18:03

Former England captain Dylan Hartley says England players ‘need to take ownership'

“There is this narrative that this coaching set-up write the song and the team sing it,” Hartley says on Amazon Prime.

“This is the most experienced England squad you have ever seen on paper - it is a collaborative process. If George Ford, Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell are there nodding along, it is their fault. The players need to take ownership, so they are not playing a game plan they don’t believe in.”

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:39

FT: England suffer first ever defeat to Fiji to sink to new low ahead of World Cup

It is, strictly, only a warm-up, but it is hard to convey the enormity of that result. This was a close to full strength England side, and Fiji were missing a couple of genuine stars - it mattered not!

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:14

FT: England suffer first ever defeat to Fiji to sink to new low ahead of World Cup

Where do England go from here? Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for Steve Borthwick and his side, well, that happens.

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:12


For the first time in their history, Fiji have beaten England!

Steve Borthwick’s side sink to a new low, but how about that performance from the Pacific Islanders? England were thoroughly out-fought, out-fought, and out-played.

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:08


Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:05

England 22-30 Fiji, 80 minutes

Fiji are going to beat England! Fiji are going to beat England. Danny Care explores the blindside but Max Malins runs out of room after the scrum half tries to set him away up the touchline. The clock is dead!

Harry Latham-Coyle26 August 2023 17:04

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