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Unvaccinated Sitaleki Timani departs Western Force on eve of Super Rugby season

By AAP
(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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The Western Force have cut ties with Sitaleki Timani after the former Wallabies lock opted against having the Covid-19 vaccine.

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Timani was unable to qualify for a medical exemption and his reluctance to have the vaccine meant he couldn’t participate in the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season.

“I would like to thank the Western Force, my teammates and Rugby Australia for their support and understanding in what has been a difficult decision,” Timani said.

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“With the help of the Force, I am still consulting specialists but unfortunately with the season about to start I understand the position it puts both the Western Force and Rugby Australia in.

“This is not how I wanted to end my time in Australian rugby, but I am thankful for the opportunity I had to pull on the Force jersey again and wish them all the best for the upcoming season.”

The 35-year-old played 18 Tests for the Wallabies between 2011-13.

The Force signed Timani in March last year following the forward’s four-year stint with Clermont Auvergne in France.

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“Sitaleki has been a great professional and valued member of the club since re-joining us last season.

“On behalf of everyone at the Force I would like to wish Sitaleki and his family all the very best for the future,” Western Force chief executive Tony Lewis said.

– Justin Chadwick

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