Victorious England coach Steve Borthwick and Mastercard Player of the Match Owen Farrell have praised the performance of the Flying Fijians who took them to the wire in their 30-24 Rugby World Cup quarterfinal win in France today.
“It was what we expected. They are a tough, tough team that can turn it on in the blink of an eye,” Farrell, who landed the drop goal to end Fiji’s campaign at the tournament, told World Rugby.
“I thought we started the game really well. We really got after it in that first half.”
“We always knew Fiji was going to have some good patches and they did. To find a way to win and get through to the semi-finals is a big step forward but we know we have plenty of work to do.”
While coach Borthwick is delighted to remain in the tournament, he commended Simon Raiwalui and his players for lighting up fireworks in Marseille.
“What a performance by Fiji, not just tonight but this World Cup. What a team they are. Well-coached and jam-packed with world-class talent. We knew it was going to be a tough game and it was.”
Despite losing to Fiji for the first time in August, in a warm-up match at Twickenham, England has since risen to the tasks set before them in France.
“The players were written off,” Borthwick said.
“A lot of people said we wouldn’t get out of the pool. We got out of the pool, now we got out of the quarter-final.
“Now these players have an opportunity in Paris in the semi-final. I am sure we will be written off again but these players rise to the occasion.”
England will face defending champions South Africa in the second semifinal at 7am on Sunday.