All remaining Autumn Nations Cup fixtures for Fiji have been cancelled, as the unfit Fijian squad succumb to Covid-19 positive tests. And with those cancelled fixtures, all hope for Fijian rugby’s great rise to new heights has been unfairly cut short.
With a majority of the group now showing positive Coronavirus results, head coach Vern Cotter’s 2020 hopes are again destroyed. He has already seen his England v Barbarians fixture cancelled, and now his men have been forced to all but forfeit those opportunities; in a decision pronouced by the Autumn Nations Cup organizing committee.
— Autumn Nations Cup 🏉 (@autumnnations) November 17, 2020
Unfit Fiji forfeit all remaining Autumn Nations Cup fixtures
With names like Semi Radradra, and Levani Botia affected, the specifics around the suggested 29 players and staff meant Fiji were unable to field a fit side. And CEO John O’Connor spoke on behalf of the squad when he said, “Our priority now together with the tournament organizers is the safety and well-being of the players and management. The team will remain in strict isolation and monitoring prior to further testing being conducted.
“Fiji Rugby and the Organisers are committed in taking all necessary action and steps to ensure that all players are tested negative prior to any further consideration”.
Fiji Rugby Chief Executive John O’Connor clarified that as per COVID 19 protocols, tests conducted have returned 29 positive COVID cases (management and players)
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) November 17, 2020
There were no winners in this decision. No team’s influenced the option taken; with both France (whose game on November 14 was cancelled), and Italy literally to be awarded tournament points in place of the match. No winners too, as fans in Paris and in Rome will each now see no representative rugby in times that have brought their active social lives to another lockdown. A lose-lose situation.
And it would seem fairly obvious that the final fixture versus Scotland in Edinburgh; scheduled for November 28, is likely to again see an unfit Fiji forced to surrender.
South Seas nation hugely disappointed
A huge disappointment to the small Southern Seas nation, who were so buoyant when invited to participate. A disappointment to Scottish fans also, who also would have been thrilled with the challenge laid down by the Fijians.
Unfortunately now, many Fijian player’s fans will simply hope that their men regain full health. Healthy so that they can retain to the riches of the French Top14 and Guinness PRO14 competition. That is a consideration of their career’s. And a legitimate one.
In fact, Bristol Bears head coach Pat Lam must be one of a large group of managers who all feel empathy, even while hoping they can see their contracted players recuperate fully for the 2020/21 season’s campaign.
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