FIJI RUGBY UNION WANTS BAN LIFTED ON PLAYERS

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Threatens to pull out of competition if military blacklisted

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 24, 2011) - The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) says the IRB needs to explain why it is not being allowed to select its strongest team for international level matches.

The Union has threatened to pull out of next year’s Wellington and Gold Coast legs of the world sevens series, if New Zealand’s or Australia’s travel bans on players with military connections are not lifted.

The FRU chairman Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga says the team’s recent success at the London Sevens, where they beat New Zealand 42-19 in the semi-finals and finished runners-up, shows what they can do when given a chance.

"We were able to provide a team that can be competitive in that world stage. Unfortunately we couldn’t field the same teams to play in Australia and New Zealand. We sent a different team to Hong Kong - we changed the whole team to go to Adelaide - because of the restrictions placed on us."

Colonel Tikoitoga says the restrictions are an interference on Fiji’s team selection, which he believes breaches IRB rules.

He says all they’re doing is frustrating people unnecessarily and politics should be kept out of sport.

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