Chief executive officer John O’Connor is refusing to accept Fiji’s participation in the Autumn Nations Cup is over after 29 positive COVID-19 tests amongst players and management and has revealed plans are being put in place for future Tests with Six Nations teams.
Fiji have been forced to forfeit games with Italy and France due to repeated positive tests at their training camp in France and there are serious doubts over the team’s ability to compete against Scotland in the final pool game on November 28. They are then scheduled to play against a team from Pool A in the final round of fixtures on December 5/6.
O’Connor is adamant that negative tests will enable Fiji to travel to Scotland for the match and told the Fiji Times: “I have a meeting with the Six Nations to put in place strategies about the match against Scotland. If the results start becoming positive then we will look at those strategies.
“The match against Scotland will only go forward once all players who have tested positive for COVID-19 have their test results return negative.”
In a bid to negate the damaging effects of the positive tests on the image of Fijian rugby, O’Connor has been negotiating with the Six Nations unions a bid to get a commitment for regular fixtures. The current Autumn Nations Cup was arranged to fill the void created by the inability of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand to travel to Europe for matches. Instead of allowing Fiji to build their case for more fixtures, the pandemic has left them frustrated and unable to play under new coach Vern Cotter who took over in January and has yet to take charge of a match.
O’Connor added: “I have been in talks with the chief executive officers from the Six Nations and we are looking at possible Test matches between their teams and the Flying Fijians in the coming years. And that is something to look forward to as well with all that is going on at the moment.”
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