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.


Saudi Professional League broadcasts live on Twitter

Updated 12 November 2019

Saudi Professional League broadcasts live on Twitter

  • Video watching of the league’s events and news has generated more than 115 million views

RIYADH: Saudi sports channels, exclusive carriers of the Saudi Professional League 2019/2020, have started broadcasting all league matches on Twitter.

The broadcast via the Twitter platform (@riyadiyatv) will be free and include studio analysis for each match and other relevant information to give viewers the chance to follow the games, including on their smartphones.

The move between the Saudi sports channels and Twitter offers fans the chance to watch Saudi league matches and pursue their passion for sport through mobile applications and smart programs on social media platforms.

The growing public interest in the Saudi Professional League is clear. Video watching of the league’s events and news has generated more than 115 million views and recorded more than 360 million hits on the accounts of Saudi sports channels on Twitter during the first two months of the league.

Sports content is one of the most popular items on Twitter, as evidenced by several surveys about the Kingdom conducted by Toluna, which specializes in consumer insight surveys and analysis.

The most-watched videos on football include highlights of the matches (88 percent), commentary and technical analysis (43 percent). The study also found that (72 percent) of Twitter users in the Kingdom consider the platform one of the main sources of access to online video content.

Twitter will create customized pages in Arabic and English for watching the main matches of the league. Live events will be transmitted directly to sports fans through videos and “Moments,” a collection of tweets, by accessing the page through the “explore” section or at the top of the timeline or by using the “search” feature. Twitter created the first page dedicated to watching the Al-Hilal-Al Nasr derby, held last Sunday at the King Saud University stadium.

Zeinab Abu Alsamh, CEO of commercial and marketing affairs at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority, said that Saudi Arabia was one of the leading countries using the Twitter platform. 

“This important step with the global Twitter platform in broadcasting the matches of the Saudi league will make us reach a wide segment of our followers everywhere in the world, in order to ensure the access of media content to all spectrums of viewers through the widespread Twitter platform,” she said.

Kinda Ibrahim, Twitter director of media partnerships for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “We are delighted to be broadcasting the Saudi Professional League on our platform as we are always striving to bring new and exciting experiences to football fans on Twitter. The Saudi Professional League has a huge following inside and outside the Kingdom, and we seek through a live broadcast to enrich the experience of Saudi football fans.”

Commercial brands will be able to link their products and services to the Saudi Professional League’s premium content and communicate with the public through the Saudi Alwasail media company. Videos of the most important moments of the league will be posted on the Saudi sports channels accounts in promotional tweets, in cooperation with sponsoring brands. These tweets contain brand ads, which automatically appear before videos from Saudi sports channels.

The Saudi Professional League began on Aug. 22 and will continue until May 2020.