Right from the off, England were uncomfortable. No one called when Ben Volavola launched the World Cup from the kickoff and the ball plopped, unhindered, into the damp Twickenham grass.

For large stretches, England were uneasy when they had to hold possession and work their way through what continued to be a very awkward match.

They gave every impression they would rather hoof the ball away or pressure their Fijian rivals with their defence, which had far more substance than their attacking ability.

England conceded one try to a majestic crosskick regather from Nemani Nadolo and avoided another when Nikola Matawalu lost the ball on the tryline after a stunning 50m run.


They were exceptional efforts and it will take that type of play to break down England's resistance.

On attack, though, they were extremely limited and, when their pack lost momentum, it looked worse.

Only fullback Mike Brown, centre Jonathan Joseph and wing Jonny May seemed to have any comfort on the ball in the backline, while the rest shuffled and shovelled possession with consistent mistrust.

It was the opening match and England were under massive heat to show they have the game to take them deep into the tournament.

On this evidence, they have not generated any extra fear-factor. However, they have got their opening match out of the way, and with a bonus-point victory which may end up in the list of the tournament mysteries.

England have some World Cup history of looking troubled and hesitant yet pushing through into the latter stages, as they did in 2007.

They've had a huge scare and will be better for it as they look at finding ways to get past Wales and the Wallabies later in their pool.

They've been to the battlefield and a new group of players have felt what World Cup action is like rather than being told about it.


There have been many who point to the All Blacks and question where they go if their all-action intent is stymied. Have they got an alternate style they can use if other avenues are blocked as they were in Sydney recently? It's an inquiry which is as valid as inspections about England's approach.

If their forward intent is curtailed and they cannot maul and drive as they managed once to magnificent effect at Twickenham, what other attacking style can they develop?

Loose forward Tom Wood had a bit about him but Ben Morgan and captain Chris Robshaw suggest hardworking, slogging yeoman without too much elan and hooker Tom Youngs might be the only member of the tight five with some athletic zip in his kit.

So when grinding attrition comes up short, who can England use to change things up?

Or do they believe, as many do, that this World Cup will come down to pressure and goal-kicking in the sudden-death section and they need to refine those methods?

Coach Stuart Lancaster and England are out of the starting gates. Some would say they looked like a three-legged ass but England have begun with a bonus-point win - the rest have to follow.