Fiji is clinging to the slim hope for a string of upsets in the congested Pool A as they prepare for their third leg of an arduous opening to the World Cup.
In the space of five days they played and lost to England and Australia and now face Wales meaning clashes with the second, third and sixth ranked sides in the world in their first three games.
“It is tough,” said assistant coach Tabai Matson, who played for Fiji in the 1999 World Cup and later played 10 games for the All Blacks.
“But in saying that, we are still enjoying ourselves and we have got a great opportunity in front of us. The mountain just got steeper. Now we are relying on other teams to fall over.”
Fiji have so far lost two players through injury with prop Isei Colati and wing Waisea Nayacalevu, but Matson said they have taken heart from the way Wales overcame a horror run of injuries to overpower England.
“It was a great Welsh team performance and we have to understand that 80 minutes of rugby is going to be the minimum amount of effort for us,” he said.
“I think for us, we can take a lesson out of the fact that you can lose individuals, but if the team is resolute you can still get an outcome.
“This is when your squad strength is tested. It’s so important to have that depth. It is becoming harder, just because of the nature of the tournament and the time frame. However, we will march forward with bandages and sometimes, bruised egos too.”
A key theme in Fiji’s opening matches has been a lack of discipline, conceding 24 penalties, three yellow cards and two players cited.
Matson was adamant that had to be addressed against Wales, where they face being punished by Dan Biggar who kicked 23 points in the epic win over England.
“We understand that discipline is critical at this level. You get away with things at the tier below that you just won’t get away with at the Rugby World Cup,” he said.