It has been a mixed opening for the Pacific Island sides at this World Cup, a combination of their own shortcomings and good old injustice have conspired against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The knockout rounds remain a realistic goal for Samoa but an unlikely prospect for Tonga unless they can conjure a small miracle and beat Argentina.

Fiji's chances are harder to decipher. What will inevitably happen is they will come up short and if/when they do, it will force much needed answers to certain logistical questions.

But before anyone can blame the organisers, it has to be acknowledged that Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have shown glaring deficiencies in specific areas.


Fiji and Tonga are killing their chances at this tournament with their indiscipline and inaccuracy at the breakdown.

It wasn't a secret before the tournament and it has been confirmed in the opening weeks that the breakdown is going to be the key battle ground: the epicentre of every test. And it's here where Fiji in particular have been poor.

They have conceded an average of 18.5 turnovers per game - the highest in the competition. Tonga are just behind on 17. No side can win big games if they turnover the ball that much.

Samoa's specific problem has been their defence. They are missing an average of 30 tackles per game which is the second worst behind Uruguay. Again, it's never been a secret that defence is critical at a World Cup.

All three nations need quick fixes if they are to have any hope of progressing. But the injustice business has cropped its head up again and it may have a significant impact.

World Cup organisers simply don't want to acknowledge it, but they may have to in the case of Fiji as their test against Wales has taken on massive significance following the weekend events at Twickenham.

Pool A could again be thrown on its head as bizarrely, while Wales beat England against the odds, their victory came at such a physical and emotional cost and with a five day turnaround, they are suddenly vulnerable.

The ludicrous thing is that Wales are being allowed to play at Millennium Stadium. They are not the hosts, yet they are in Cardiff, on their home patch, based at their usual training base, while on Sunday night, the players even had the luxury of going home to sleep in their own beds.

Having beaten England, Wales are now everyone's second favourite team and their bravery in victory has won them a huge following who would love to see them hold on and secure a playoff spot. Or, more accurately, deny England a playoff spot.

That doesn't mean the injustice of the decision to allow them to play in Cardiff can be ignored.

Fiji, who have previously beaten Wales at a World Cup and who have pushed England and Australia at this tournament, could potentially be back in the playoff mix if they win.

The clash at the Millennium is critical and the difference could be that Wales are yelled home by their passionate fans. It could be that the familiarity of their soundings gives Wales that intangible edge.

What also can't be ignored is the discrepancy in scheduling in Pool A in particular. England's four games are 22 days apart in total with even breaks of eight days and then seven days between each. They have the best draw in the tournament.

Uruguay have 20 days gap but only four days to prepare to play England. Wales also have 20 days but gaps of six, five and then nine days. Fiji have 18 days but only had five days after playing England before they had to take on Australia, while the Wallabies have the toughest schedule of all, playing their games in 17 days with four days, six and seven as their rest periods.