FIJI will look to end their Rugby World Cup campaign with a flourish when they face Uruguay in their final Pool A fixture in Milton Keynes tonight.
Amid all the talk of the “Pool of Death” it has been easy to ignore the Fijians’ punishing schedule that has seen them obliged to play England, Australia and Wales in the space of 13 days.
For a major side that would be a gruelling programme; for a team with Fiji’s relatively meagre resources it seems positively unfair.
They have lost all three matches so far but have made life tough for all of the “big three” in their group.
Indeed, the Pacific islanders’ centre, Vereniki Goneva, scored one of the tries of the tournament with an 85m free-running move typical of Fijian rugby that brought the crowd at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium to their feet during a 23-13 defeat by Wales.
Fiji coach John McKee said the challenge for his side was to maintain their intensity throughout the course of a game.
“We have not been consistent enough though in our play of the 80 minutes to get a win,” he said.
“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.”
For minnows Uruguay, the match offers hope of what would be a celebrated win for the South Americans.
Today’s other match is another “World Cup final” of sorts, with both Canada and Romania, who have each enjoyed moments to remember in Pool D, in search of their first win of the competition when they meet in Leicester.