Sam Matavesi, the Flying Fijians and Northampton hooker, has lost his sense of smell and taste after testing positive for COVID-19 but is still hoping the Pacific Islanders will be allowed to play against Georgia at Murrayfield on Saturday.

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Matavesi is one of 29 Fijian players to test positive for COVID-19 at their French training base and the impact of the pandemic meant all of their pool games in the Autumn Nations Cup against France, Italy and Scotland had to be scrapped leaving them bottom of their pool which means they now face Georgia.

Matavesi knows that the squad must be given the all-clear to be allowed to travel to Scotland for the match this weekend and told Force.Net: “I was part of the 29. I was one of the ‘famous 29’, so they say. I feel all right now. Last Saturday, I was pretty rough to be fair. I had all the classic symptoms like a high temperature and it felt like a bad flu, if that makes sense.

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“I’ve had a bit of chesty cough and a bit snotty and phlegmy throughout the whole week now. I’ve also lost my sense of smell and taste so, yeah, the full shebang. It’s my 11th day now so I feel fine except I can’t smell or taste.”

The Fiji squad have been restricted to their hotel while trying to control the spread of the virus and Matavesi admitted they still don’t know how it was carried into the group. “At the hotel we are at now, everyone’s in their own rooms:” he explained

“When you go to eat, obviously it is is self-service but you have your own tongs on your plate. Somebody’s obviously brought it in and it’s come in and done the worst so to speak. It went from one to four and then 29.

“We were so close to playing France. It was the Thursday before we were about to fly to play France so we got close to one game. I think from that the Italy game was definitely going to be cancelled.

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“You can definitely understand why because it’s not an ideal situation but, touch wood, we should be all good to go for Georgia. I think if all the tests come back negative, we can show the Scottish Government our results and I think we can go and play Georgia.”

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