'After careful consideration we have cancelled our 2021 domestic competition'
Fijian rugby’s governing body FRU has announced it will not resume domestic competition this year due to risks relating to COVID-19.
Instead, the Pacific Island nation is planning to make an early kick-off to its 2022 campaign.
This comes hot on the heels of the news that Samoa will not travel to London to face the Barbarians at Twickenham next month as planned. Instead, a Samoan XV drawn from players based in Europe will fulfil the fixture for which upwards of 35,000 tickets are already believed to have sold.
FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor said plenty of thought had gone into the cancellation with player welfare being the paramount consideration.
“Even though we have received the approval and certification for a safe return to training and play last Friday October 1, after thorough consultation and careful consideration we have decided to cancel our 2021 domestic competition,” he said.
“From Monday October 4 we were allowed to commence non-contact training in the field and training in the gym with limited numbers of 20 people at any one time, only for fully vaccinated players, coaches and management of teams.
“We expect full contact training to be allowed when Fiji achieves 80 per cent of full vaccination and we look forward to the announcement of such relaxation.
“When such an announcement is made, fully vaccinated players and their coaches will be allowed to commence full contact training.”
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O’Connor said it is therefore impossible to complete any form of domestic competition safely this year, and the FRU plans to launch their competition early next year.
“We have seriously considered player welfare and safety especially since there has been no training for the last six months,” he said.
“Due to the importance of ensuring compliance to the strict safe return to train and play guidelines we have advised all our affiliate unions that we will not be recommencing our Skipper, Vanua and Women’s Competitions this year.
“We plan to kick off next year’s competition early in March and have urged unions to focus on their off-season training and prepare accordingly.”
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