England recovered from a slow start to score seven tries in a 54-12 demolition of Fiji, issuing a statement of intent ahead of upcoming tougher Tests against the southern hemisphere powers.
Charlie Sharples and Manu Tuilagi each scored a brace of tries at Twickenham, Ugo Monye and Tom Johnson also went over while England were awarded a penalty try in a one-sided final hour. Toby Flood kicked 17 points, missing only one of seven shots at goal.
Second-half tries by Glasgow scrum-half Nikola Matawalu and Seko Kalou were just reward for the efforts of Fiji, who was overrun after making a ferocious start in front of 82,000 fans. Matawalu gave the South Sea islanders something to cheer with his score early in the second half which saw him pounce on turnover ball, hack forward and beat man of the match Alex Goode and Tuilagi to finish.
After losing a three-match summer Test series 2-0 in South Africa, the confidence of an inexperienced England side will be boosted before successive matches against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. But captain Chris Robshaw warned: “We were pretty slow coming out of the blocks today. We eventually warmed into the game but we cannot do that over the next three weeks.” Coach Stuart Lancaster agreed with Robshaw and said England had “rusty areas” which need to be fixed before next week’s clash against the Wallabies.
Lancaster said: “Next week and the week after and the week after that we are going to have to be more clinical.”
England had an uncomfortable opening quarter in which they lost Danny Care to the sin-bin for a spear tackle after ten minutes. But when they hit their stride the Fijians had no answer and England racked up a record win over the Islanders, surpassing the 58-23 victory at Twickenham in 1989.
Scorers. England: Tries: Johnson, Monye, Sharples 2, Tuilagi 2, Penalty try; Cons: Farrell, Flood 4; Pens: Flood 3. Fiji: Tries: Kalou Qaraniqio, Matawalu; Cons: Matavesi
England: A Goode; C Sharples, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, U Monye; T Flood, D Care; T Waldrom, C Robshaw, T Johnson; G Parling, T Palmer; D Cole, T Youngs, J Marler
Subs used: D Paice, D Wilson, M Vunipola, J Launchbury, T Wood, B Youngs, O Farrell, M Brown.
Fiji: S Koniferedi; S Wara, V Goneva, S Naqelevuki, W Votu; M Talebula, N Matawalu; A Qera, M Ravulo, A Naikatini; A Ratuniyarawa, L Nakarawa; D Manu, V Veikoso, P Makutu
Subs used: S Naureure, M Saulo, I Ratuva, J Matavesi, R Fatiaki.
Referee: G Jackson (Nzl). Attendance: 82,000.