Fiji’s plan to let the ball sing against Uruguay
Fiji players will pause in silence before their Rugby World Cup game against Uruguay to commemorate those who died in the 2011 tsunami that devastated the region.
Then the plan is to run relentlessly for 80 minutes and put on a show at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.
The venue was built on the grounds of two schools destroyed by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit much of Japan's northeastern coastline. After running Australia ragged for an hour last Saturday, Fiji lost their opener 39-21.
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That has made them more determined to gain momentum in games against Uruguay and Georgia before their October 9 showdown with Wales that could have a quarter- finals spot at stake.
Coach John McKee has made 12 changes to his starting line-up for the Uruguay game, two enforced by injuries and others to give back-up players valuable tournament experience and frontline stars a break.
"We are on a four-match series to qualify for the playoffs, so the Uruguay game is a very important part of that quest," he said.
Fiji captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Leone Nakarawa are the only remaining starters in the forward pack from last weekend.
Henry Seniloli and Josh Matavesi will combine in the halves, while Jale Vatubua is returning from a seven-week injury lay-off to form a new midfield combination with Semi Radradra, who started against Australia on the wing. Filipo Nakosi adds pace on one wing and Vereniki Goneva adds his try-scoring experience on the other.
Uruguay will commence their campaign on Wednesday, having one of the longest waits to get going.
Assistant coach Oscar Duran said they had taken advantage of the extended preparation time, and had the extra motivation of playing at Kamaishi. "We are all aware of what happened with the tsunami here, (and) what it means for everyone in Kamaishi and all of Japan to be playing a Rugby World Cup match here," he said.
Two sons of Uruguay great Diego Ormaechea - who in 1999 was the oldest player, at 40, to compete in the Rugby World Cup - have been included on the bench.
Fiji: Alivereti Veitokani, Filipo Nakosi, Semi Radradra, Jale Vatubua, Vereniki Goneva, Josh Matavesi, Henry Seniloli, Leone Nakarawa, Mosese Voka, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Api Ratuniyarawa, Tevita Ratuva, Manasa Saulo, Mesulame Dolokoto, Eroni Mawi. Res: Tuvere Vugakoto, Campese Ma'afu, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Tevita Cavubati, Samuel Matavesi, Nikola Matawalu, Ben Volavola, Levani Botia.
Uruguay: Gaston Mieres, Nicolas Freitas, Juan Manuel Cat, Andres Vilaseca, Rodrigo Silva, Felipe Berchesi, Santiago Arata, Manuel Diana, Santiago Civetta, Juan Manuel Gaminara, Manuel Leindekar, Ignacio Dotti, Diego Arbelo, German Kessler, Mateo Sanguinetti. Res: Guillermo Pujadas, Facundo Gattas, Juan Pedro Rombys, Franco Lamanna, Juan Ormaechea, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Etcheverry, Tomas Inciarte.