IRB Rugby World Cup
Preview: Fiji vs. Uruguay -- The first meaningless match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Will Kent
October 5, 2015
Will Fiji show what they can do?
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We say goodbye to Fiji and Milton Keynes from this year's Rugby World Cup here as both combine with Uruguay to supply us with the first proper meaningless match of the competition. Fiji definitely can't make third place for automatic qualification, and while Uruguay still mathematically can, they won't. But, can Uruguay throw another twist into Pool A by beating the Pacific Islanders leaving them bottom of the group? Let's see...

Team news Fiji welcome back wing Nemani Nadolo from suspension, with Asaeli Tikoirotuma swapping flanks to the right and Timoci Nagusa, who played there against Wales, missing out on a place in the squad. Kini Murimurivalu replaces full-back for Metuisela Talebula, while the pack sees two changes: Apisalome Ratuniyarawa replaces Tevita Cavubati in the second row and Sakiusa Matadigo is in for Netani Talei at number eight. It is Fiji's oldest team at a Rugby World Cup for 12 years, with an average age of 29 years and 108 days; captain Akapusi Qera wins his 51st cap to become the second most capped Fijian, passing Seremaia Bai but still 20 caps shy of Nicky Little's 71.

Pablo Lemoine has named Uruguay's most experienced starting Rugby World Cup XV since 2003, with 453 caps combined, a side that somehow conspires to also be the nation's third-youngest in World Cup history with an average age of 26 years 202 days. The coach has made six changes to the team that lost 65-3 against Australia as Carlos Arboleya, Alejandro Nieto and Alejo Duran all start after appearing off the bench against the Wallabies. Wing Santiago Gibernau, lock Jorge Zerbino and prop Alejo Corral also return to the starting team after missing the match-day 23 against Australia. 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.

Fiji: Kini Murimurivalu, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Vereniki Goneva, Lepani Botia, Nemani Nadolo, Ben Volavola, Nemia Kenatale; Campese Ma'afu, Sunia Koto, Leroy Atalifo, Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, Leone Nakarawa, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Akapusi Qera (captain), Sakiusa Matadigo.

Replacements: Viliame Veikoso, Peni Ravai, Taniela Koroi, Tevita Cavubati, Netani Talei, Henry Seniloli, Josh Matavesi, Timoci Nagusa.

Uruguay: Gaston Mieres, Santiago Gibernau, Joaquin Prada, Andres Vilaseca, Rodrigo Silva, Alejo Duran, Agustin Ormaechea; Alejo Corral, Carlos Arboleya, Mario Sagario, Santiago Vilaseca (captain), Jorge Zerbino, Juan Manuel Gaminara, Matias Beer, Alejandro Nieto.

Replacements: German Kessler, Oscar Duran, Mateo Sanguinetti, Mathias Palomeque, Franco Lamanna, Juan De Freitas, Jeronimo Etcheverry, Francisco Bulanti.

Key head-to-head

Apart from the threat posed by Nemani Nadolo - Fiji's biggest talking point of the entire tournament - this game could evolve into the battle of the kickers. Ben Volavola's kicking has been wayward so far while his opposing number Felipe Berchesi made three penalties against Wales before making sure his only chance from tee count in their outing against Australia. Fiji conceded 14 penalties against the Wallabies, proving that kicking opportunities will probably be available for the Teros. It'll be down to Bereschi to take these opportunities to ensure Uruguay stay in the game for as long as they can.

Key stats

* This will be just the second meeting between the sides, with Fiji beating Uruguay 39-24 in 1999.

* Fiji have scored in their last 31 Tests, the longest current run by any team in Test rugby.

* Fiji have a 100% scrum success rate at this tournament, Uruguay meanwhile have the lowest success rate in the competition (64%).


Despite Fiji having all lost three of their games - albeit to the big boys of international rugby - they're still priced at 1/100 on Unibet to win. Uruguay are available at 25/1.


The early forecast suggests we should be expecting rain around Milton Keynes on Tuesday but it looks to die off before kick-off. Temperature's set to reach a maximum of 17 degrees Celsius in the day, settling at around 14 at 8pm. 


Uruguay proved in qualification they are capable of putting up a decent fight, winning six of their eight games. However, Fiji are still a class above and they'll still pick up there first win here despite Bereschi's best effort via his boot. Fiji by 25 points.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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