England player ratings as Fiji World Cup fright survived by Earl’s drive

England survived the most terrifying of final scares to overcome a clingy foe and book their place in the semi-finals of the rugby World Cup.

After dominating for the lion’s share of the match, Steve Borthwick’s side came undone in the final stages and almost allowed Fiji in to steal it at the death, but for the divine intervention of a few inspired stars.

Express Sport runs the rule over the player ratings.

Marcus Smith – On the receiving end of some big Fiji hits.  Tried his best to bring some spark to England’s attacking play, but was exposed at times.  6

Jonny May – Looked  lively whenever the ball reached him. Important defensive contributions.

Joe Marchant – Scored a first half try with a neat finish in one of his best performances in his time with England.

Manu Tuilagi – Crashed over in the corner for the game’s first try. Powerhouse defensively too. 8

Elliot Daly – Left foot useful for England and good in  the air  but struggled to make impact with the ball in hand. 6

Owen Farrell – Under pressure to justify his selection, controlled game for large parts and even dropped a goal. 8

Alex Mitchell – Put behind him a poor game against Samoa to deliver the controlled and pacy delivery needed by England. 7

Ellis Genge – Lively in possession and strong in defence, he gave as good as he got against  the Fijian giants. 7

Jamie George – Knitted the forward effort together with another classy contribution. On the mark as ever with his lineout throwing. 7

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Dan Cole – Must have thought his England days were done after the 2019 World Cup final but four years on he is still doing his team-first thing. 6

Maro Itoje – Big-match player who delivered on the big occasion with a ferocious all-round performance for England. 8

Ollie Chessum – Work-hungry shift from the Leicester grafter. Increasingly  important cog for England up front. 6

Courtney Lawes – Bulldozed into touch by three Fijians but finished well in credit with big turnovers on the floor. 8

Tom Curry – Early hit on Botia set tone and though gave away two penalties his nuisance value was huge. 8

Ben Earl – Best game yet for England, everywhere at the breakdown. Storming late run brought late Farrell penalty. 9

Fiji: Droasese 7; Habosi 6, Nayacalevu 7, Tuisova 6, Radradra 7; Lomani 7, Botitu 5; Mawi 7, Ikanivere 6, Tagi 7; Nasilasila 7, Tuisue 6; Tagitagivalu 6, Botia 7, Mata 8.

England subs: Lawrence for May 65, 6; Care for Mitchell 60, 6; Marler for Genge 61, 7; Sinckler for Cole, 60, 6; Chessum for Martin 70, 6, Vunipola for  Curry 74, 7.

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