SOS Call To Return

Negotiations are underway to fly in Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani so he could undergo all the COVID-19 pandemic’s quarantine processes in the country.
18 Sep 2020 07:29
SOS Call To Return
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians halfback Frank Lomani is a confirmed player for the Autumn Nations Cup. However, he needs to return to Fiji to undergo all the quarantine requirements.

Negotiations are underway to fly in Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani so he could undergo all the COVID-19 pandemic’s quarantine processes in the country.

This was confirmed to SUNsports yesterday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor who indicated Lomani needs to be cleared before he accompanies the local-based players who are selected to play for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians at the Autumn Nations Cup.

The competition is from November 13 to December 6.

“Right now all the negotiations are done by Simon Raiwalui, so the quicker we have him (Lomani) coming over, the better it is,” he said.

Lomani has been Rebels first choice halfback as their Super Rugby AU campaign ended in a semifinal loss to the Reds, last Saturday.

O’Connor said at the moment they were checking out on the overseas-based players’ clearance from their respective clubs.

“For the local-based players we’ve an extended squad who have been monitored on a weekly basis,” he added.

O’Connor said once head coach Vern Cotter finalised the players’ availability, he was expected to name the Flying Fijians squad next week because they plan to camp in France on October 25.

“The local-based players who will be selected are going to travel to Europe to meet-up with the overseas-based players and the coaches,” O’Connor added.

Tour coaches named

Cotter has named the coaching staff of Daryl Gibson, Jason Ryan, Glen Jackson and Richard Gray to work with him during the Autumn Nations Cup.

O’Connor has welcomed the four coaches and said they were looking forward to working with them in the coming months.

“We have a very high-profile coaching team together with head coach Vern Cotter.

“I’m confident the Flying Fijians will put on an impressive show in their first ever Autumn Nations Cup outing,” O’Connor said.

Cotter said, “I have been in regular contact with my coaching group for almost two months.”

He added all these coaches came with a lot of international experience and were experts in their respective technical areas.

“Glen Jackson is good at handling skills and can sensitise and also give players a clear understanding of what referees see and how they act,” Cotter said.

“This will help us a lot because if we can cut down the discipline and the penalties against us, it will make us less vulnerable.”

He added that Gibson had international experience as a player and head coach.

“He has the maturity to help with the back line and we have Jason Ryan who has won three titles with Crusaders and brings all the standards in High Performance probably from the best franchise,” he said.

Cotter added that Gray’s input will also be of high quality since they had worked together in Scotland.

“Gray is someone who I have worked with in Scotland and in Montpellier and specialises in rug-contact,” he said.

The Autumn Nations Cup will be two pools of four – Group A will include England, Ireland, Wales and Georgia with Group B comprising France, Scotland, Italy and Fiji.

Flying Fijians fixtures

  • November 15: v France
  • November 21: v Italy
  • November 28: v Scotland

Edited by Simione Haravanua


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