MILTON KEYNES, 6 Oct - So it is farewell to Fiji, who finished Rugby World Cup 2015 with the sort of performance which earned them the nickname "flying".

Five tries, two penalty tries, 17 points from Nemani Nadolo (pictured above), frayed tempers and a first win of the tournament from the showmen of the South Pacific, who finally found life in the "Pool of Death".  


Fiji’s New Zealand-born coach John McKee had made no secret of his plan to upset one of the "big boys" in the pool but his team could not convert performances into results against Australia, Wales or England.

That was put right at Stadium MK on Tuesday, although credit must go to rivals Uruguay. They lost 47-15, but bravely went toe-to-toe despite the vast difference in height and weight. They also recorded their first World Cup tries since 2003.

On the minus side, they finished with 14 men after try scorer Agustin Ormaecha was shown the red card for exchanging punches with Campese Ma’afu, who was handed yellow.

"It’s not that important to us really," insisted Los Teros coach Pablo Lemoine. "We will talk with the official and try and find out what happened. But we are really happy we scored a try for the people."

Roll of honour

First the Fiji roll of honour, earned on the basis of some free-spirited rugby and a stubborn refusal to kick a single penalty while racking up a fair share of sloppy passes and dropped balls. The scene was set in the opening minutes when the offer of a quick three points was dismissed in favour of a kick for the corner.

Leone Nakawara, one of five different try scorers, won the man-of-the-match award and was a giant even in the land of the giants. His tally of nine turnovers and 10 offloads puts him top of the table at RWC 2015, while his side-step and dummy for his try had the crowd gasping.

Then there was Nadolo, back from suspension and targeted as a danger man by Lemoine, who had warned, presciently: "For a team of our size, it's a lot of Nadolo in front of us."

Power play

Somehow Los Teros managed to restrict the wing to conversions, until the dying minutes when exhaustion and the one-man difference caught up with them. As Nadolo powered through, the 30,048 record crowd stood and cheered him over the line.

By that stage Uruguay were on their knees, having already shown great spirit to fight back from 12-0 down in in the first half with their first try of RWC 2015 and the first since Lemoine scored in 2003 against England.

The touchdown was made by Carlos Arboleya and converted by Ormaechea, who scored a second after Uruguay capitalised on a bad throw. It was a bitter-sweet night for Ormaechea, whose father Diego scored at RWC 1999 against Spain.

"To have that in common with my dad is great," admitted Ormaechea. "But it was a mixture of sensations and I ended up with a pretty bad one because I could be missing the next game. I think I’m pretty upset now."

Niggly flare-ups

There were several niggly flare-ups between the players, perhaps because Fiji expected to roll over their rivals rather more easily. But both sides were committed to open, passing rugby, which will be the abiding memory of everyone at the stadium.

As McKee said: "Credit to Uruguay, they were really tenacious, particularly in defence, It was a tough game on a wet and greasy night.

"We have got a talented squad and we have had some huge challenges, especially around the first three games. We came with high ambitions and we believed we could roll over one or two of the bigger teams, but it didn't happen so it was important to get a good win tonight."

Fiji head home now while Uruguay go to Manchester where England await on Saturday.

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