Raiwalui says Fiji have 'come through' after first win over England

'Pride': Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui hailed his side's team spirit after their landmark win over England at Twickenham (Ian Kington)
'Pride': Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui hailed his side's team spirit after their landmark win over England at Twickenham (Ian Kington)

Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui hailed his side's resilience and determination after they beat England for the first time in a 30-22 Rugby World Cup warm-up win at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Pacific islanders have long been known for the flair while running with the ball in hand that has made them such a dangerous team in the seven-a-side game.

While those traditional skills were on display at Twickenham, notably from dynamic wing Selestino Ravutaumada, the player-of-the-match, and in second-half tries from Waisea Nayacalevu and Vinaya Habosi, there was much else to admire about their game as they ended a run of seven defeats by England in style.

Fly-half Caleb Muntz gave Fiji plenty of control and direction behind the scrum, while also landing all six of his goal-kicks: three conversions and as many penalties.

Meanwhile, a team featuring players who appear in leading club competitions in the southern hemisphere, England and France, proved more than a match for the Red Rose up front, long before Ravutaumada sent in Simione Kuruvoli for a match-clinching try seven minutes from time.

Fiji head into their World Cup opener against Wales -- the team they knocked out of the 2007 edition in France -- in Bordeaux on September 10 in confident mood.

"The result is good, huge pride in the team and the way they have prepared," Raiwalui told Amazon Prime.

"We knew the areas teams would come against us. We've done three or four sessions per day at times, we've taken them to the limit and they've come through."

He added: "There's a very good team spirit at the moment and a good feeling within the group."

There was a small but enthusiastic knot of Fiji supporters among a modest crowd of 56,854 -- a testament to England's poor form that has now seen them lose five of their last six Tests. It was a far smaller attendance than the more than 80,000 that watched world champions South Africa inflict a record 35-7 defeat on New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday.

Fiji's win is set to spark scenes of mass euphoria back home, a point not lost on the fleet-footed Ravutaumada.

"I am so proud of the boys, this win is for all the people back home in Fiji," he said.

Fiji are in a Pool C at the World Cup also featuring Australia and Georgia.

But on their recent form, not only will it be no surprise if they reach the knockout stages, some observers believe they are now more capable than at any time in their history of reaching the semi-finals of a World Cup.

Ravutaumada, however, refused to get carried away, saying simply: "No comment on that one, we will see on the first match against Wales."