A stunning second-half from England against Fiji got their 2021 Rugby World Cup off to a flying start.

The Red Roses scored 10 tries after the interval, adding to four scored before the break, to beat the Pacific islanders 84-19 at Eden Park in Auckland.

Ex-Welwyn junior Helena Rowland scored one of the first-half tries while Zoe Harrison, another from the Hobbs Way-based club, kicked two conversions late on.

Hannah Botterman, who was also at Welwyn after starting her career at Datchworth, was one of the substitutes.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: England's Zoe Harrison goes past a Fiji tackler at the 2021 Rugby World Cup.England's Zoe Harrison goes past a Fiji tackler at the 2021 Rugby World Cup. (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

The victory puts England top of pool C ahead of France, who they play next on Saturday, and head coach Simon Middleton believes the performance will lay the foundations for a tournament that his side are favourites to win.

He said: "One thing this has shown is that there are going to be absolutely no gimmes in this competition. Fiji were outstanding in that first half, really compact and really physical.

"I think we were nervous but who wouldn’t be? It’s a World Cup opener and there’s obviously been a massive amount of build-up and they were probably able to play little bit freer than us.

"The key thing for us was that we just relaxed, took stock and then we got our game on track.

"It wasn't like we were being pumped at half time, we were still 24-14 up, but I think we would’ve hoped we’d done a few things a little bit better.

"But we did better in the second half for sure."

The squad depth was highlighted by the replacements who came on and made significant impacts, most notably Abby Dow who was one of the scorers having recovered from a broken leg sustained against Wales in April's Six Nations.

He added: "The fitness levels of the players, the execution, the skill level and the set piece really stepped up.

"We’ve got great strength in depth and we said the squad will be the difference in the end. This proved that.

"We were out of our seats [when Aby scored]. We’re so pleased for her, she's had such a tough journey back but she's worked tirelessly along with our medical department, in particular Emily Ross who has invested loads time into her.

"All of us, all her teammates, were absolutely thrilled for her."