Moments later, another try arrived from a set piece, this time when the scrum-half Nemia Kenatale skipped away from the scrum along the line. Only eight minutes played and a rout looked imminent.
But Uruguay are not built to yield. Refusing to be bullied, they countered, fighting for every turn over, the energetic Agustín Ormaechea sniping brilliantly at the base of the scrum. First a penalty by Alejo Durán raised the spirits of the crowd. Then Carlos Arboleya, the hooker, completed a lengthy sequence of passes to ground the ball under the posts. Their nation’s first try in the World Cup since 2003 was greeted with exuberant celebration, as the scorer was buried under a human pyramid. This was what neutral and diehard alike had come for: to see the underdogs secure a five-pointer.
It was a short-lived riposte, however. Fiji had another penalty try on 27 minutes as the Uruguay scrum crumbled under a monstering from the prop Leroy Atalifo. Then the giant second row Leone Nakarawa ran in a fourth just before half-time to make the turnaround score 26-10.
But, as Fiji opened the second half flinging the ball around Uruguay’s defence remained unflinching. They were rewarded for their stoicism with a second try. After Fiji had dropped a ball in attack, the winger Rodrigo Silva channelled his inner Luis Suárez, to huge roars from the crowd, dribbling the ball 40 yards. He then returned it back to the brilliant Ormaechea who scrambled home. It was almost his last act before he was red carded.
It may not have been enough to rattle the excellent Fijians, who barrelled in three more scores. Now England await Uruguay in the deadest of dead rubber games on Saturday .