Rugby Rugby

Changes loom for victorious England

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 England's Joe Launchbury (R) reacts as England's back row Billy Vunipola (hidden) scores a try during a Pool A match in the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18, 2015 . PHOTO/AFP
England’s Joe Launchbury (R) reacts as England’s back row Billy Vunipola (hidden) scores a try during a Pool A match in the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18, 2015 . PHOTO/AFP

TWICKENHAM, September 19- Two try hero Mike Brown may be certain of his place in England’s next World Cup match, but England coach Stuart Lancaster could make changes for the clash with Wales.

Lancaster said several replacements had made a strong case to start the next Pool A match after impressing in the 35-11 win over Fiji to start the tournament.

Mike Brown was the hero with a try in each half. But supersub Billy Vunipola, who scored the fourth try to snare a key bonus point, typified the change after several replacements were made.

“We always select one game at a time and the the bench really put their hands up and that’s what you want them to do,” said Lancaster.

“With the quality of the team coming up against next week we need to be at our best and it’s a big challenge against Wales.”

It was only deep in the final quarter that the Twickenham crowd of more than 80,000 saw England really pull away from the Pacific islanders.

For large parts of the match, England were dominated up front, but the arrival of Vunipola, his brother Mako, Owen Farrell and hard-charging rugby league convert Sam Burgess helped revitalise Lancaster’s men.

– Seek improvement –

The substitutes certainly did their chances of facing Wales at Twickenham next Saturday no harm after providing some much needed impetus against a physically imposing Fiji side.

“The key messages are to play in the right areas of the field, trust the game will come to us and be more direct. We were too lateral in the first half and the players realised that,” said Lancaster.

“Billy, Mako and Sam came on and did well for us, provided quicker ball and that proved the difference in the end.

“We need to improve, that’s no doubt, but had we been offered four tries and the bonus point I would absolutely have taken that at the start of the game.”

And he insisted Pacific Nations Cup champions Fiji, who knocked Wales out of the 2007 World Cup in France, would be handful for all the other sides in Pool A.

“I think Fiji will cause every team problems. They play Australia next and then have an eight-day break before Wales.”

Lancaster added lock Geoff Parling, who was replaced by Joe Launchbury, had come off with a “mild stinger” but said he expected the second row to be fit to face Wales.

Fiji coach John McKee suggested England should have been unhappy with their performance and would need to improve to see off Wales and two-time champions Australia.

“We are a bit disappointed in the dressing room — we came here with high ambitions and felt we had England under pressure at times but critical turnovers and penalties allowed England to come back into the game and stopped us building any momentum.”

The New Zealander added: “I think England could possibly be a bit disappointed in their performance at times. They started off quite dangerous in the maul but didn’t go on with that and maybe didn’t take their opportunities in attack.

“This pool was not decided tonight that’s for sure.

“England are probably looking at their games and thinking they are going to have to sharpen up for games against Wales and Australia.”

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