FRU plans

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Savenaca Vakali­waliwa, Canada

It is good news for our lo­cal Fi­jian rugby play­ers to know that Fiji Rugby Union has wo­ken up and de­cided that only lo­cal play­ers will be con­sid­ered a spot in the Tele­com Fi­jian War­riors and the Voda­fone Fi­jian Un­der-20 teams (FS 19/11).

It is good to know that FRU has fi­nally re­alised that over­seas-based play­ers use the op­por­tu­nity and ex­pe­ri­ence gained as a step­ping stone to at­tain­ing a Su­per Rugby con­tract be­fore switch­ing their al­le­giance to play for ei­ther, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Eng­land or France. Fi­jian rugby fans had spo­ken out and writ­ten in this col­umn in the past for only lo­cal play­ers to rep­re­sent Fiji in rugby be­cause they will give it their all for our beloved na­tion.

On the other hand, it is sus­pected that over­seas play­ers will hold back be­cause any in­jury will af­fect their over­seas con­tracts. As for the Voda­fone Fly­ing Fi­jians team, I be­lieve that the plan was to put to­gether a team af­ter the Rugby World Cup con­sist­ing of lo­cal play­ers, groom them, ex­pose them through over­seas matches as they bond and pre­pare for the next Rugby World Cup. But it seems that this is only a dream as the FRU cur­rently needs over­seas play­ers to com­pete with tier 1 teams.

All Fi­jian rugby play­ers and fans will be de­lighted with the de­ci­sion by FRU to pick lo­cal play­ers to rep­re­sent Fiji, thus ex­pos­ing more of our play­ers over­seas, and the op­por­tu­ni­ties it would bring. At the end of the day, win­ning is im­por­tant for Fiji, but more im­por­tant is for our lo­cal rugby play­ers to set up an in­come stream in which they can sur­vive on af­ter hang­ing their boots.

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