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.