FRU CEO Tells Of NZ Super Contract

This was confirmed to SUNsports yesterday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor.
16 Jun 2020 12:42
FRU CEO Tells Of NZ Super Contract
Chiefs No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula in the thick of things against Highlanders during the Super Rugby Aotearoa opener at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand on June 13, 2020. The former Fijian basketball star is now a contender for the All Blacks No.8 spot. Photo: Chiefs

Fijian No.8s Hoskins Sotutu and Pita Gus Sowakula are first committed to play for the All Blacks than for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians.

This was confirmed to SUNsports yesterday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor.

“This goes for all the Fijian players playing for their New Zealand clubs in Super Rugby,” he said.

“Their contract is in such a way that when they sign their contracts, their allegiance goes first to New Zealand Rugby.

“So if they want to play for Fiji they will lose their Super Rugby contracts.

“Then they will have to play either in Japan or in Europe.”

O’Connor said that was the reality of the situation of our Super Rugby players especially Sowakula and Sotutu who had been playing really well.

According to Rugby Pass, both players are contenders for the All Blacks No.8 berth after the legendary Kieran Read quit international rugby.

“Pita Gus Sowakula, was also impressive, and the former Fijian basketball player is a wildcard to take on the role moving forward.

“He would offer a length and comfort with the ball in hand that would be unrivalled amongst New Zealand’s current No 8 options,” stated Rugby Pass on Sowakula who is now, coach, Warren Gatland’s first choice No.8.

Sotutu has relegated Blues top choice loosie Akira Ioane to the bench and was one of the stars in their 30-20 win over the Hurricanes on Sunday.

O’Connor said Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have had meetings with NZ Rugby where they have requested if NZ Rugby could relax the eligibility clause of the Super Rugby contract to allow for one or two players eligible to play for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to play in the Super Rugby competition.

“There has been no progress,” he added.

Sotutu’s dad Waisake missed out on the All Blacks and switched his allegiance to Fiji where he played at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in France.

However, the FRU CEO said, they were grateful to Rugby Australia, for relaxing the eligibility clause of their player contract.

“That’s why Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani has been able to get a contract with the Melbourne Rebels,” he added.

The Fijian players who are playing for NZ clubs in Super Rugby but are eligible to represent the Flying Fijians; Blues- Sotutu, Emoni Narawa, Alex Hodgman; Crusaders- Manasa Mataele, George Bower; Hurricanes- Isaia Walker- Leawere; Chiefs- Sowakula, Kini Naholo; Highlanders- Tevita Nabura, Kirisi Kuridrani.

Edited by Simione Haravanua


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