Analysis: Why Castres Dropped Kunatani

Kunatani was yesterday dumped by his French Top 14 club Castres for failing his medical test.
04 Oct 2020 10:00
Analysis: Why Castres Dropped Kunatani
Olympian Semi Kunatani is now without a club.

Flying Fijians flanker and Olympian Semi Kunatani is in doubt for the Autumn Nations Cup in November.

Kunatani was yesterday dumped by his French Top 14 club Castres for failing his medical test.

“Castres Olympique regret to announce that Semi Kunatani did not meet the requirements of the regulatory medical examination and as provided for in the regulations of the National Rugby League. He can therefore not join the club,” stated the club through a press release.

The former national 7s forward flew out of the country three weeks ago to join his club.

He along with Glasgow Warriors Leone Nakarawa are in danger of missing out due to lack of game time.

Also ruled out of the Autumn Nations Cup due to injury is Edinburgh’s No.8 Viliame Mata.

So far, there has been no word from head coach Vern Cotter on the delay of the naming of the Flying Fijians squad.


It is understood that the October 25 camp is highly likely to be moved away from France, due to the rapid increase in the number of people being tested positive to COVID-19.

“It is getting out of control here,” a source from Europe said.


Meanwhile, apart from the New Zealand-based players, it is likely a number of upcoming local-based players are earmarked for the tour.

The players have been monitored regularly by the Fiji Rugby Union’s High Performance Unit.

It is believed they led by Suva second five-eighth Serupepeli Vularika, rookie Naitasiri first five-eighth Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Tailevu halfback Simione Kuruvoli, Papua New Guinea-born Naitasiri lock Chris Minibi, Manueli Ratuniyarawa, Timoci Sauvoli and tighthead prop Samu Tawake.

The 24-year-old Tawake played for Manawatu Turbos in the Mitre 10 competition last year. He made his debut for the Flying Fijians in the 34-31 win over the Barbarians in Twickenham.

He signed up with Rugby United New York early this season but had to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tawake is playing for Naitasiri in the Skipper Cup competition.

The local-based players are expected to joined by Melbourne Rebels halfback Frank Lomani.

Lomani was released from Government quarrantine in Nadi on Thursday after going through all the safety procedures.

Flying Fijians assistant coach Daryl Gibson told Rugby Pass, that he is looking forward to work with players like Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova, Peceli Yato and Mata.

“Vern has been very open to ideas around playing the game and playing it in a uniquely Fijian way and with an identity that you can see,” he said.

“We are not going to turn Fiji into a ten-man team that kicks the leather off the ball and scrums and lineouts teams.

“There is a number of players back in the islands which we’ll be bringing that you haven’t seen and part of our brief is to really nurture that talent and start really bringing it through.”

Edited by Osea Bola


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