"Historic Defeat" - 8 Things We Learned: England 22-30 Fiji - Ruck

“Historic Defeat” – 8 Things We Learned: England 22-30 Fiji

For the first time ever, Fiji have beaten England in a historic match at Twickenham Stadium. Steve Borthwick’s men are once again back to the drawing board, after a shocking 30-22 defeat to the Pacific Islanders.

This was far from the send-off England wanted ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

England end their Summer Nations Series with just one win in four matches, with today’s defeat to Fiji presenting a lot of talking points, as Borthwick was forced to shake-up his side. England came into the match with a growing list of absentees, as high profile injuries and suspensions had a detrimental effect on today’s performance.

Despite Jonny May’s try building an 8-0 lead after just nine minutes, England were unable to ever establish a foothold in this game. The sharpshooting kicks of Fijian fly half Caleb Muntz kept the Pacific Islanders in the match, before they took the lead for the first time two minutes into the second half. Tries from Waisea Nayacalevu, Vinaya Habosi and Simione Kurivoli tipped the match in the Fijians favour, with a stunned Twickenham Stadium emptying out before the final whistle.

Here are the eight main talking points, from England’s 22-30 defeat to Fiji.

1. Another Unwanted Record Broken with Argentina Threat Growing

Steve Borthwick’s men are out on the brink at such a crucial time. England’s first match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup is two weeks away, and Argentina look like the favourites heading into the opening clash in Marseille. After England took their heaviest ever home defeat, with France running out a 53-10 Twickenham landslide in the 2023 Six Nations, they have today lost to Fiji, for a historic first time.

Fiji entered today’s contest with an underdog asterisk, of being a ‘tier two’ rugby nation. However, this victory could well have repercussions throughout the international rugby landscape, with upsets like this being significant in the argument against the bi-annual ringfenced ‘World League’ for the Six Nations and SANZAAR sides. Georgia’s similar victory over Wales in the 2022 Autumn Nations present the hunger that tier two nations have, with the upcoming Rugby World Cup providing another stage for such upsets.

England take on Argentina and Japan in their first two matches in Pool D. There is no denying the threat that Los Pumas bring. Argentina recorded their own historic win over England last Autumn at Twickenham, and have continued to improve, with England’s form slumping downhill. The Pumas have also recently recorded victories over the All Blacks (2022 Rugby Championship),

Argentina also secured a win over Australia in the 2023 Rugby Championship, and took the Springboks to the wire for a narrow one-point loss (22-21). Japan are no strangers to providing Rugby World Cup upsets, after the Brave Blossoms achieved unexpected wins over South Africa in 2015 and Ireland in 2019. Both sides present serious threats to England, who need to strengthen the foundations to avoid pool stage losses and an early World Cup exit.