Uruguay shock Fiji 30-27 at World Cup

Fiji’s Josh Matavesi is tackled by Uruguay’s Santiago Civetta during their Rugby World Cup match on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 25 September 2019

Uruguay shock Fiji 30-27 at World Cup

  • The match was one of the most thrilling in World Cup history, full of dramatic twists and turns

KAMAISHI, JAPAN: Uruguay pulled off one of the Rugby World Cup’s largest upsets when they beat Fiji 30-27 in a match laden with significance for the disaster-ravaged town in which it was played on Wednesday.

Only days after coming close to a shock result when they led Australia 14-12 at halftime before losing 39-21, 10th-ranked Fiji found itself on the wrong end of a larger surprise, going down for the first time in four meetings to the 19th-ranked Los Teros.

Fiji scored first but Uruguay scored three first-half tries to lead 24-12 by halftime. Flyhalf Felipe Berchesi kicked two penalties to keep his team in front throughout the second half, finishing with three conversions and three penalties for 15 points.

Fiji threw everything at Uruguay in an effort to wrest back control of the game in the second half but their most ambitious attempts failed through passing and handling errors and paid dearly for poor goalkicking by Josh Matavesi and Ben Volavola.

A try after the fulltime siren to Niko Matawalu — his second of the match, which typically went unconverted — was enough to earn Fiji a losing bonus point. But the result severely jeopardized their hopes of winning a place in the knockout rounds.

The match was one of the most thrilling in World Cup history, full of dramatic twists and turns and brought to life by the indomitable spirit of the Uruguay team which were given little chance of upsetting star-studded Fiji.

Uruguay are the youngest team at the tournament, an assembly of home-based players who are semi-professional at best and can’t match the array of global stars which Fiji has at their disposal.

They played with magnificent professionalism to exploit Fiji’s errors and lead through most of the first half after conceding an opening try after only eight minutes.

They then showed extraordinary spirit to hold out Fiji as they mounted attack after attack in the late stages of the second half. The Uruguay players looked closed to exhaustion and emptied their bench by the end of the third quarter.

But Uruguay continued to defend with unshakeable courage, led by captain Juan Manuel Gaminara who tackled himself to a standstill.

Fiji were denied a try in the 80th minute when replacement flyhalf Volavola lost the ball just short of the line. Matawalu then scored the final try but it came too late to shift the result.

Fiji scored twice early through hooker Mesulame Dolokoto and prop Eroni Mawi and from what appeared to be set moves. But Uruguay produced magnificent responses through scrumhalf Santiago Arana and and back-rower Diana before a try to Juan Manuel Cat ensured they led at halftime.

Fiji cut into the lead with a try to Tevita Ratuva but Berchesi kept his tiring team ahead.

The match brought consolation and new life to a fishing town struck eight years ago by a ruinous earthquake and tsunami.

Prior to kickoff at the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium both teams observed a minute’s silence for the more than 1,000 people from the town who lost their lives. 

The March 11, 2011 tsunami destroyed 30 percent of homes, 60 percent of businesses, and the stadium is built on the site of two schools destroyed by the wave. The somber note quickly passed, giving way to a celebration of rugby and of the town’s spirit.


‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

Updated 03 June 2020

‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

  • Researchers, students claim Guinness World Record with novel training approach

DUBAI: Using water bottles and school bags full of books as weights helped two Abu Dhabi athletes clinch a Guinness World Record (GWR) in a gruelling physical challenge. 

Eva Clarke and Brandon Chin Loy competed as part of a mixed team to complete 12,502 chest to ground burpees in a 24-hour period, more than double the minimum requirement.

The group, including students from an Abu Dhabi university, attempted the record on May 3 and were told they had succeeded on May 27, the same day some members of the team graduated. 

Clarke, a fitness trainer and mother of three who holds a string of Guinness World Records, told Arab News on Monday that taking part in the latest attempt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We started training for this relay event before the lockdown and when the pandemic happened, we thought we had to make the event unique, so we continued to train on Zoom,” she said.

Clarke, who led the fitness classes, held up to 50 workout sessions during the 12-week lockdown, sometimes starting as early as 4:30 a.m.

“Since I had to continue training without access to weights, I made my own by carrying six-packs of water bottles and encouraged the group to do that as well. I am going to miss the online training,” she added.

Clarke’s previous 12 records included most pullups in one hour (female), 12 hours, and 24 hours, equivalent. She also holds titles for the most knuckle pushups in one minute (female), one hour, and 24 hours equivalent, as well as most burpees in 24 hours (female), and 12 hours, most chest to ground pushup burpees in 24 hours (female), and one minute. 

Clarke also completed the fastest marathon carrying a 40 lb. backpack (female) in the 2015 London Marathon.

The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobics. The movement is performed in four steps, known as the “four-count burpee.”

The team was joined by two witnesses during their record attempt through a live conference call. 

“For us, the pandemic is no time to turn into a couch potato. Instead, the team challenged each other to double down on their efforts, even if our gym sessions are on hold and we are separated from our teammates,” said Daniel Gill, assistant director of wellness at a UAE university, in a statement by GWR on Sunday.

Brandon Chin Loy, a computer engineering senior at an Abu Dhabi university who broke his first world record, told Arab News on Monday that he set the event as a goal for himself. 

“I trained under Eva, and it was crazy training which used to start at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

The team trained six times a week and completed 500 burpees an hour along with other cardio exercises, he said.

“We had to get creative with weights, so I packed books in a bag and carried that,” said Chin Loy.

Team member Ivan Camponogara, a researcher in movement science, said: “Coming face to face with physical challenges never seems to deter me. I take on each adversity with a determined mindset and a will to succeed.” 

Shaddy Gaad, senior marketing manager at GWR’s MENA office, said: “They adapted quickly to our newly launched Remote Adjudication service, where we received their application, adjudicated it online, and presented them with the certificate in a chain video.”

Tereza Petrovicova, who celebrated her university graduation and a Guinness World Record on the same day, said: “This cannot be a better day for us. We thank Guinness World Records for accepting remote adjudication. This online feature creates two measures of accountability, and we did not want to be left behind the eight ball.”

Anna Erdi, who also graduated with a degree in psychology, said: “Mind and body are linked together. All it takes is just one decision to change your attitude 180 degrees. Once that decision is taken, normal will be different. It will not be the same normal, but it can be a better normal.”

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