Fiji and Uruguay have met each other on one occasion in which they both awarded caps, a 1999 Test match in L’Aquila, Italy which Fiji won 39-24.
Wales made heavier work of it than they would have liked but prevailed 23-13 in an entertaining and sometimes breathless Pool A clash against Fiji on Thursday to move a step closer to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. Only one member of Uruguay’s match-day party has scored a Rugby World Cup try – Lemoine himself, against eventual champions England back in 2003.
This is Uruguay’s best chance of an upset this year, but they are unlikely to be able to match the Islanders for power or speed.
Ben Thomson is considering flying home to Wales if his team reaches the final of the Rugby World Cup. Preparations have been limited due to the turnaround and Wales coach Warren Gatland hinted that players who did not show enough intensity would be dropped for a game in which victory would put them within touching distance of the last eight.
Tonight’s matches just happen to pair up four winless teams: Canada vs Romania, followed by Fiji vs Uruguay.
Fiji have confirmed their status as Pacific rugby’s pacesetters during this World Cup, with critics labelling arch-rival Samoa’s campaign “shameful” and Tonga displaying indifferent form.
John McKee has admitted to being “proud but frustrated” by Fiji’s performance against Wales. He plays for Stade Montois in France and has also represented Uruguay in Sevens. “It’s not about one player”.
“When you look at the games we’ve played – three games in 13 days – it’s a challenge for any team. We are very secure with Alejo and our bench”.
“Until they’re willing to give up power, nothing will change”, he told the New Zealand Herald, railing against the “colonialist” mindset of the sport’s hierarchy.
For the Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine, moreover, there is further incentive. We are doing everything to make sure we get it right. Fiji conceded 20 turnovers to Wales’ 13.
Fiji: K Murimurivalu; A Tikoirotuma, V Goneva, L Botia, N Nadolo; B Volavola, N Kenatale; S Matadigo, A Qera (capt), D Waqaniburotu, L Nakarawa, A Ratuniyarawa, L Atalifo, S Koto, C Ma’afu.
Uruguay: G Mieres; S Gibernau, J Prada, A Vilaseca, R Silva; A Duran, A Ormaechea; A Nieto, M Beer, JM Gaminara, J Zerbino, S Vilaseca (capt), M Sagario, C Arboleya, A Corral.