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Naiyaravoro clears the Fijian air


'Some may say I turned my back to Fiji, but it isn't the full story... I wanted to give our local players a chance'

Former Wallaby Taqele Naiyaravoro has made it clear his international future is with Fiji despite being unable to join their sevens squad for the final two legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London and Paris.

Fijian 15s coach John McKee put forward the idea of adding Naiyaravoro to the sevens squad to try and get the Fijian-born Northampton winger qualified for the World Cup squad in Japan, but this will not be happening.

Gareth Baber, the Fiji sevens coach, said it wouldn’t be possible to parachute the try-scoring back into a squad that is just three points behind series leaders USA.

In a bid to explain why he opted to play for Australia, where he won two caps, and now wants to represent Fiji, Naiyaravoro took to Facebook and told fans: “It’s mere impossible for me to make the cut for sevens at this stage. Yes, like some of you said, it’s too late and the sevens team has to win the title. A lot is riding on the last two tournaments, so for that I believe God’s timing is the best timing.

“For representing the Wallabies I don’t regret it. Honestly, because as a teenager I’ve always had a dream of playing for Fiji. Never have I thought that I would get interest from the Wallabies. It was a dream I never had. So I pursued it and I’m glad that I have actually got to be part of that team.

“Yes, some may say that I turned my back to Fiji, but it isn’t the full story because my first thought to not play for Fiji was because I wanted to give our local players a chance. And it wasn’t easy – it hurt me in a way because there is no other feeling like representing your country of birth.

“My intentions for representing Fiji never died and three years ago I made that decision to play for Fiji, so please don’t think it’s a last minute thing because I had to follow the World Rugby rule of a three-year stand down from international games in order to be able to even be eligible for Fiji.

“This whole process wasn’t built overnight. I’m not seeking for approval from any of you. I’m just making it clear that decision in the past I have made was for a reason and the last thing I wanted was to be labelled as someone who turned their back on their country or chased the money.

“Money can’t buy happiness nor replace that feeling of donning the Fiji jersey. Yes, I understand that there is so much quality players already in the Flying Fijians, but it would be an honour to be able to share the field with them.”

WATCH: Part five of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary on the Leicester Tigers

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'Some may say I turned my back to Fiji, but it isn't the full story... I wanted to give our local players a chance'
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