MILTON KEYNES (REUTERS) - Fiji finished their World Cup with their first victory, proving too powerful in a 47-15 win in Pool A over courageous Uruguay who, much to the delight of their entire team, grabbed their first tries of the tournament.
Fiji, dealt a tough hand at the World Cup with only spirited defeats by England, Australia and Wales to their name, dominated at the scrum with second row Leone Nakarawa and fullback Kini Murimurivalu scoring the pick of the tries.
But the biggest cheer and wildest celebrations were saved for Carlos Arboleya who, 12 years after Uruguay coach Pablo Lemoine scored their last World Cup try, crashed over the line in the first half to be mobbed by all 22 Uruguayan starters and replacements.
Scrumhalf Agustin Ormaechea added a second try for Uruguay later in the game. “Sometimes a record is really good to be there but I think it was fantastic to score two tries,” Lemoine told ITV.
Uruguay’s task looked all the more daunting with just three minutes gone when Ormaechea’s illegal tackle earned him a sin binning and a penalty try against his side.
Fiji took full advantage of the extra man as Ormaechea’s opposite number Nemia Kenatale picked from the back of a five-metre scrum, handed off scrambling Uruguay flyhalf Alejo Duran and went over in the corner.
The full house at Milton Keynes began to fear for the South Americans but Duran quickly landed a penalty before Arboleya got the try that Uruguay were clearly desperate for.
Following great initial work from the returning Ormaechea and some fast, purposeful line breaks, Arboleya barrelled over the line and his team mates made the most of the moment.
Uruguay’s forwards were causing problems in the loose but Fiji’s power began to show and their scrum was just too much for the minnows, who conceded a second penalty try before the half hour.
Imposing winger Namani Nadolo did the damage for the fourth try, picking his moment to join the intimidating Fijian attacking line, then skipping past one defender and offloading to Nakarawa, whose dazzling dummy sent him clean through.
Uruguay refused to buckle and had to wait 40 minutes, and not another 12 years, for their next try as they capitalised on a Fijian mistake to kick through, allowing the livewire Ormaechea to touch down in the corner, prompting more jubilation.
The Pacific Islanders grabbed three more tries before the final whistle from Tevita Cavubati, Murimurivalu and Nadolo as Ormaechea added a red card to his eventful night for a shove off the ball.
Uruguay battled on and almost had a third try.
Their predominantly amateur team will sign off against England, who are already eliminated, in Manchester on Saturday.