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England have one last opportunity to build momentum ahead of the Rugby World Cup as they host Fiji at Twickenham.
It’s been another difficult week for Steve Borthwick, with confirmation of bans for Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola followed by the news that Anthony Watson will miss the tournament through injury.
Watson suffered a calf issue in the 29-10 defeat to Ireland in Dublin, England’s fourth loss in their last five games.
And given their hosts’ issues, a Fijian side that has benefitted significantly from the inclusion of the Drua in Super Rugby Pacific may just fancy their chances of causing a pre-World Cup shock.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When is England vs Fiji?
England vs Fiji is due to kick off at 3.15pm BST on Saturday 26 August at Twickenham Stadium in London.
How can I watch it?
Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the Summer Nations Series fixture on Amazon Prime Video, with coverage on the streaming service from 2.55pm BST.
If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch England vs Fiji then you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN roundup is here to help: get great deals on the best VPNs in the market.
News of Anthony Watson’s injury comes as another major blow for England ahead of the World Cup, Jonny May has been called in to the starting side as cover with Elliot Daly (knee) and Henry Arundell (back) also absent this weekend, though Steve Borthwick is confident both will be fit for the tournament. In Billy Vunipola’s absence, Ben Earl slides across from the openside with Jack Willis promoted to the starting back row.
That trio is completed by Courtney Lawes, captaining his country on the occasion of his 100th cap, while there are first international starts for Theo Dan and Alex Mitchell at hooker and scrum half respectively. Manu Tuilagi joins Ollie Lawrence in a power-packed midfield.
Fiji are without a couple of stars in flanker Levani Botia and Josua Tuisova, and prop Peni Ravai is also a significant absentee. There is plenty of quality in Simon Rawailui’s group, though, with Semi Radradra and skipper Waisea Nayacelevu offering a varied midfield threat outside of young fly half Caleb Muntz.
Albert Tuisue and Viliame Mata will shoulder much of the ball carrying burden from the back row, while Selestino Ravutaumada has enjoyed a strong first summer in international rugby and gets another opportunity to impress on the wing.
England XV: 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Theo Dan, 3. Dan Cole; 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Ollie Chessum; 6. Courtney Lawes (capt.), 7. Jack Willis, 8. Ben Earl; 9. Alex Mitchell, 10. George Ford; 11. Jonny May, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 13. Ollie Lawrence, 14. Max Malins; 15. Freddie Steward.
Replacements: 16. Jack Walker, 17. Joe Marler, 18. Will Stuart, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Lewis Ludlam; 21. Danny Care, 22. Marcus Smith, 23. Joe Marchant.
Fiji XV: 1. Eroni Mawi, 2. Sam Matavesi, 3. Luke Tagi; 4. Isoa Nasilasila, 5. Te Ahiwaru Cirkidaveta; 6. Albert Tuisue, 7. Lekima Tagitagivalu, 8. Viliame Mata; 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Caleb Muntz; 11. Vinaya Habosi, 12. Semi Radradra, 13. Waisea Nayacalevu (capt.), 14. Selestino Ravutaumada; 15. Ilaisa Droasese.
Replacements: 16. Zuriel Togiatama, 17. Jone Koroiduadua, 18. Samu Tawake, 19. Temo Mayanavanua, 20. Vilive Miramira; 21. Simione Kuruvoli, 22. Teti Tela, 23. Kalaveti Ravouvou.
England win 1/6
Fiji win 4/1
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Fiji are more than capable of giving England an almighty fright but it is time Steve Borthwick’s side showed their home fans reason for optimism ahead of the World Cup. England 38-26 Fiji
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