11 Nov 2012

England thrash Fiji

8:33 am on 11 November 2012

England has launched their European autumn series with a commanding 54-12 win over Fiji at Twickenham.

Stuart Lancaster's men outscored Fiji seven tries to two and the match was over as a contest at half-time with England ahead 25-0.

England's fifth win in as many Tests against Fiji, battling to overcome issues of player release for this tour, was also their record margin of victory over the Pacific Islanders, surpassing the 35-point gap they recorded in a 58-23 success at Twickenham in 1989.

Gloucester winger Charlie Sharples scored his first two tries for England, who also saw Harlequins winger Ugo Monye and blindside flanker Tom Johnson touch down in a tally that included a penalty try and two late scores by Manu Tuilagi.

Outside-half Toby Flood kicked 17 points.

Fiji avoided the embarrassment of being 'nilled' when scrum-half Nikola Matawalu scored a fine solo try in the 54th minute with replacement Seko Kalou crossing in the final minute.

Fiji's task was not helped by their inability to field their best team and coach Inoke Male has complained that some of his players were not released by their clubs as they should have been.

This was Fiji's first Test against England in 13 years and Male lamented only being able to have his side together for three days before the game.

But it was England, initially trying to play too much rugby without first securing forward dominance, who were reduced to 14 men in the 10th minute.

Scrum-half Danny Care was sin-binned by Test debutant referee Glen Jackson, acting on the advice of an assistant, for a dangerous tackle on Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa.

Fiji's failure to make England pay for being a man down was compounded when Care returned to help create the hosts' first try in the 22nd minute.