England survive late Fiji scare to seal place in World Cup semi-finals

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England survived a storming fightback from Fiji to edge their way into the Rugby World Cup semi-finals following a 30-24 victory in Marseille.

First-half tries from Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant - along with 11 points from the boot of captain Owen Farrell - put England 21-10 up at the interval, with Bill Mata responding for Fiji.

Steve Borthwick's troops looked in complete command when Farrell stretched their lead to 14 points but Fiji roared back in breathtaking fashion with Peni Ravi and Vilimoni Botitu scoring in a four-minute window.

But England were able to keep their heads as Farrell pinged over a drop goal which was followed by another penalty to get his side over the line.

After suffering that shock defeat against Fiji during their World Cup warm-ups, there was to be no such surprise at the Stade Velodrome and for 65 minutes, there wasn't really a hint of it.

Everything about England's display was a professional one. Their fundamentals were on point and importantly, they were keeping the scoreboard ticking but a one-two punch from Fiji had the potential to create a dramatic climax.

However, Borthwick's men kept their cool and now they are off to Paris to face France or South Africa in the last four.

"I thought the team was brilliant in them moments," Farrell said. "As Steve said, I don't know if there is another team in the world that can score two tries like Fiji did today straight off the back of each other but we managed to wrestle our way back into the game and we got it to the right part of the field and we managed to take our chances.

"Not just that, we backed it up with a big defensive performance off the back of that and we did that last week as well as Steve said a few times now, this team is finding ways to win and when it has come down to it today, we did that and we are very pleased with that."

Fiji, in their delightful away strip, made the brighter start as they asserted their authority at the breakdown but it was a penalty won by Courtney Lawes which sprung England into life.

A kick to the corner from Elliot Daly saw possession spread wide and powerful carries from Ellis Genge and Tuilagi nearly got England over. However, they had to settle for three points but Tuilagi was able to cross moments later.

The raw power of the Sale Sharks man saw him blast over in the corner for a fine finish and England had a decent start.

After isolating Marcus Smith in the tackle and producing an excellent counter ruck, Fiji missed an immediate chance to reply from the tee but Frank Lomani made amends shortly after as Tom Curry was punished for a no-arms tackle on Josua Tuisova - with the Sale man avoiding a yellow card.

It was England who threw the next punch as they kept the ball alive superbly for Marchant to dart over but in the build-up, Fiji's Vinaya Habosi was yellow-carded for head-on-head contact with Smith.

The decision, which was sent to the bunker, perhaps debatably, wasn't upgraded while a battered and brusied Smith went off for a HIA which he subsequently passed. 

The to-and-fro of this quarter-final continued with the 14 men of Fiji bringing themselves back into the contest as Mata produced some lovely footwork to step his way over the line after the Pacific Islanders had earlier missed another shot at goal.

Fiji were bang up for this and a huge shunt by Lomani on Lawes - with some help from his teammates - lifted the atmosphere in Marseille but England were quick to snuff out any spark from Simon Raiwalui's side with two Farrell penalties in quick succession.

England's good game management filtered into the second half as Farrell opted for another three points as Fiji tried to fashion a way back into this last-eight-tie.

Borthwick's side were looking disciplined and organised in defence, with Lawes and Earl performing admirably, and they were dictating where the game was being played and frustrating Fji.

But the Pacific Islanders made it an interesting final quarter as they finally stretched England with Ravai diving through a gap for a converted try.

Fijian tails were now up and after Simione Kuruvoli had missed a long-range penalty, they carved England open for the first real time in the match with Botitu latching on to Isoa Nasilasila pass following a brilliant initial break from the destructible Semi Radradra.

England looked rattled and needed to recapture their composure. Roared on by their supporters, they worked their way into a position for Farrell to land a drop goal which put Borthwick's charges back in front after more good work from Tuilagi.

They then won a penalty which Farrell duly slotted and despite Fiji's best efforts to produce one final twist, England held out to book their place in Paris.