England second row Courtney Lawes has predicted a gruelling contest lies in wait for his side in Friday’s Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji at Twickenham but insists their superior fitness will prove the decisive factor.
Pacific Nations Cup champions Fiji won their sole warm-up clash against Canada at the Stoop on 6 September, although a potential lack of conditioning has not gone unnoticed in the England camp.
“Fiji are among the most physical teams in the world, especially in the first half,” said Lawes.
“But they tire quicker than other teams. You can’t be that fast and that powerful and sustain it. We have to ride the early storm.”