FRU prioritises 7s players’ welfare and safety

Fiji Rugby Union CEO, John O'Connor. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FT FILE

Fiji will not compete in the World Rugby Sevens Series leg in Spain this weekend, and next week.

This was confirmed by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor yesterday after “several other players in the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s and the Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s teams had returned positive results as part of their exit test after being in seven days of isolation.”

O’Connor said plans were for the Fiji 7s (men’s) team to arrive in Spain for the Malaga 7s today.

The trip was put on hold after some players were reported to have tested positive to the COVID-19 Omicron variant last week.

The teams were placed in isolation to prepare for the second tournament of the new leg. “Our day four tests’ results had only a player from the Fiji 7s team test positive,” O’ Connor said.

“As such we were very confident of sending the team to the Seville 7s, provided all the other players continue to test negative in the exit tests yesterday. Unfortunately test results received yesterday (Thursday) had other players and management in both camps test positive making it impossible to travel to Spain with a full team. We did not expect such results, but such is the nature and the ease of spread of the current variant of COVID 19.”

O’Connor said the players and members of the management staff who initially tested positive had now tested negative.

“All the players and management staff who have now tested positive are all well and remain asymptomatic. It’s disappointing not to have the men’s and women’s teams play in Spain. The safety and welfare of everyone involved is always the priority and we thank the Ministry of Health for its support and guidance. The Ministry of Health has been working closely with the FRU medical staff since we recorded our first set of cases last week.”

O’Connor said players would be allowed to train and play with their respective clubs in the deferred Fun Flavour Super Sevens Series from February 3-5 and to also prepare for the Vancouver 7s in April.

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