We take a look at the key things England’s coaching team will have learnt from their opening round victory over Fiji…
1.The set piece is a real worry now
Once again, the England scrum looked worryingly unstable, whilst the line out was hardly solid. Fortunately they just about got away with this against Fiji, but if this isn’t resolved, and quickly, they are going to struggle to even get out of the group, let alone make it through the knockout stages. Perhaps now is the time to start thinking about some changes?
2.The 10 shirt is still up for debate
Much maligned fly half Owen Farrell came on for an impressive cameo to help his side see out the game. We once again saw that George Ford struggled when the pack weren’t dominant, whilst Farrell had no such troubles. This isn’t to say Ford should be dropped, simply that Farrell shouldn’t be totally ruled out as a starting option.
3.They’re missing a true openside
This isn’t a criticism of Chris Robshaw who had a game, more an observation given Fiji won multiple turnovers whilst England struggled in this area. Watching other games, opensides were claiming turnovers all over the pitch. It is a real concern that when England come up against the likes of Warburton, Tipuric, Hooper or Pocock that they may struggle.
4.Some fans need to shut the hell up
Singing ‘Sweet Chariot’ during the Fijian Cibi is frankly pathetic and needs to stop now. It is an issue that is creeping in at Twickenham in addition to booing and hurling insults. Whilst this is often drunk idiots who don’t have the first clue about rugby, it is something that needs to be clamped down on by both officials and fellow fans.
5.Sam Burgess could be a key player
Many questioned the inclusion of Sam Burgess in the final England squad, but he came on as a replacement against Fiji and made an immediate impact. Whilst he’s unlikely to be thrown in at 12 against either Wales or Australia, a full 80 against Uruguay could see him stake a claim for a start should England make the knock out rounds.
6.Some players need to tune in
Billy Vunipola made an immediate impact against Fiji and even scored the bonus point try. That being said, he also admitted to not knowing that there was a bonus point on offer. This is a serious concern as England need players who they can rely on to make the right decision in difficult circumstances.