Preview: Fiji v Uruguay

Date published: October 5 2015

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Fiji will fancy their chances of picking up their first win of Rugby World Cup 2015 in Tuesday's clash with Uruguay in Milton Keynes.

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.

This will be Uruguay's fourth test against Pacific Islands opposition. They have lost the previous three, all against Fiji and Samoa.

Uruguay's only previous match against Pacific Islands opposition at a Rugby World Cup ended in a 60-13 defeat by Samoa 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. 

Uruguay are the only RWC 2015 team still to score a try this year. Current head coach Pablo Lemoine who was the last Uruguay player to score a RWC try, in the 111-13 defeat by England in 2003.

"It is our best opportunity and, without disrespect to Fiji, it is the only tier-two team we will play against at the England 2015 Rugby World Cup," said Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine

"Our aim is to develop a team that can qualify for the RWC and which has better ability on the pitch, as well as growing the sport of rugby."

"The growth of rugby in Uruguay can be seen at various levels. Now Los Teros have a lot of fans, there is a movie about the team, and there is a revolution in rugby that is generating a dynamic behind the qualification process over the next four years.

Los Teros skipper Santiago Vilaseca admitted they were up against a much stronger side. 

"The truth is that we don't think about winning here but about showing our game and if we win it will be as a consequence of doing things well," he said.

"We are working on our defence in general, and were doing so even before RWC 2015, as that was always a challenge, and with Fiji we are looking to take things up a level."

In terms of caps, Lemoine has named Uruguay's most experienced starting XV of RWC 2015 with 453, their third most experienced of all time, behind the teams that played against Georgia (468) and South Africa (455) at RWC 2003.

Despite their experience in terms of caps, Uruguay's team is third youngest at RWCs with an average age of 26 years 202 days.

Vilaseca also captained Uruguay in two warm-up matches against the Fiji Warriors XVs in Montevideo earlier this year, and 12 of the starting line-up for this match played some part in those matches.

With an average age of 29 years and 108 days, Fiji will line up their oldest RWC starting XV since 2003.

"We have not been consistent enough though in our play of the 80 minutes to get a win," coach John McKee said on Sunday.

"This will be our challenge come Tuesday; to work well as a team across the whole 80 minutes, in our effort to win the game.

"The mood in the camp has remained positive and the players have trained well in preparation for this game and are very focused towards making their mark for Fiji Rugby in our final game."

Players to watch:

For Fiji: In his second Rugby World Cup, scrum-half Nemia Kenatale will continue to fill in for the injured Niko Matawalu, and impressed against Wales last week. He plies his trade in Romania for Steaua Bucharest having left Fiji in 2003 for play for Farul Constanta. He started three of Fiji's four Rugby World Cup 2011 matches but played in only one of Fiji's matches in this year's Pacific Nations Cup, the 30-30 draw with Samoa.

For Uruguay: In his first World Cup, scrum-half Agustín Ormaechea is the son of Los Teros icon Diego Ormaechea, considered by many in Uruguay to be their best-ever player. He still holds the record as oldest player to feature in a RWC match. He was 40 in 1999. He is one of only four professional players in this squad. He plays for Stade Montois in France and has also represented Uruguay in Sevens.

Team news: Fiji coach John McKee has made five personnel changes and one positional change to the team that lost to Wales. Nemani Nadolo returns from suspension while Asaeli Tikoirotuma moves to the right wing, Kini Murimurivalu comes in at full-back for Metuisela Talebula. Apisalome Ratuniyarawa replaces Tevita Cavubati in the second row and Sakiusa Matadigo is the new number eight, coming in for Netani Talei. The final change sees Leroy Atalifo replace the suspended Manasa Saulo.

Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine has made six changes to the team that lost 65-3 against Australia, with Carlos Arboleya, Alejandro Nieto and Alejo Duran all promoted to the starting line-up after appearing off the bench in that match. Right wing Santiago Gibernau, lock Jorge Zerbino and loosehead Alejo Corral also return to the starting team after missing the match-day 23 against Australia. Nine of the Uruguay XV will make their third consecutive starts of RWC 2015, while Mathías Palomeque and Jerónimo Etcheverry could both make their RWC debuts off the bench.

Previous result:
1999: Fiji won 39-24 in Italy

Prediction: Fiji shouldn't be troubled. Fiji by 20 points!

The teams:

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Lepani Botia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Leroy Atalifo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Timoci Nagusa,

Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Santiago Gibernau, 13 Joaquin Prada, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Rodrigo Silva, 10 Alejo Duran, 9 Agustin Ormaechea, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Matias Beer, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 5 Jorge Zerbino, 4 Santiago Vilaseca (c), 3 Mario Sagario, 2 Carlos Arboleya, 1 Alejo Corral.
Replacements: 16 German Kessler, 17 Oscar Duran, 18 Mateo Sanguinetti, 19 Mathias Palomeque, 20 Franco Lamanna, 21 Juan De Freitas, 22 Jeronimo Etcheverry, 23 Francisco Bulanti.

Date: Tuesday, October 6
Venue: stadium:mk, Milton Keynes
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle (RFU)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (SARU), Leighton Hodges (WRU)
TMO: Graham Hughes (RFU)

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