Rugby World Cup 2015: England had to manage emotions, says Brad Barritt
Brad Barritt reflects on England's 35-11 win against Fiji on Friday night
Brad Barritt admits he and his England teammates had to overcome their emotions and produce a full 80-minute performance to see off a spirited Fiji in their World Cup opener.
Barritt won his 24th cap at Twickenham on Friday night as Billy Vunipola’s last-gasp score secured a 35-11 victory and a four-try bonus point.
There was a lot of emotion going into this game, a home World Cup in front of 80,000 people was a special moment
A penalty try and two Mike Brown scores had established England’s lead although Fiji remained in contention throughout, Nemani Nadolo scoring their only try of the night.
Had the Pacific Islanders not missed kicks at goal it could have been closer still and Barritt admits after the opening ceremony, the host nation knew they would need to produce their best.
“We knew this Fiji team were a quality side and that it could take 80 minutes to break them down,” he said.
“There was a lot of emotion going into this game, a home World Cup in front of 80,000 people was a special moment. One thing we didn’t expect was the weather but still wanted to go out there and express ourselves and have our game.
“The atmosphere walking out today was pretty exceptional, something I will remember for a long time. There has been so much build-up so it’s nice to get this out of the way.”
Fiji may have surprised a few people with the strength of their performance last night but not Barritt, the 29-year-old insists he and his teammates were fully prepared.
“The way we hung in there, the team rallied together and we scored two quick tries at the start and to be honest a lot of lesser teams might have folded,” added the 29-year-old.
“But credit to Fiji, they came back, fought hard and we are really pleased to have got the five points for next week.
“We always thought this Fiji team was a strong team, they have guys playing at Premiership clubs, in Super Rugby, some outstanding individuals.
“We knew the challenge was there, they have been improving a lot and now have a very structured game, they played territory as well with generals to lead them forward.
“We always take it game by game, the first thing was to deal with Fiji. Now all our focus can go to Wales.”
SSE Customers can win the chance to host the ultimate SSE Reward Rugby House Party on 31 October. Enter now at ssereward.com