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Double Blow For Mesu

It was a double blow for Flying Fijians blindside flanker Mesulame Kunavula yesterday.
16 Nov 2020 09:30
Double Blow For Mesu
Flying Fijians flanker Mesulame Kunavula mourns the loss of his mother and is unable to make his Test debut for the Flying Fijians after their match against France was cancelled due to coronavirus. Photo: Edinburgh Rugby

It was a double blow for Flying Fijians blindside flanker Mesulame Kunavula yesterday.

The Nadroumai, Nadroga native is to make his debut for Fiji against France in their Autumn Nations Cup opener in Vannes, France.

But this had to be cancelled after a spate of coronavirus cases among the Fijian team.

Organisers say there have been another five cases ‘affecting close contacts.’

And he learned with great sadness that his mother had died and would be buried at Nadroumai on Tuesday.

The youngest son of Vika and Sakeo Nalolo, Kunavula expressed his disappointment that he could not attend the funeral although she always reminded him to be strong when he hear the bad news.

In his Facebook posting, Kunavula said: “Lewa,Now I Know Why You always told me to be strong.’

“You knew that One Day I would need the Strength to hear Your Loss.

“Sorry that I won’t be able to attend your Homegoing Service/funeral Lequ Lewa I Miss You and I Love You So Much Lewatu Ni Wei Till that Glorious Dawn MOM ⚘

Su, your youngest Son.”

He made his debut for Fiji in 7s at the 2016 Dubai leg of the World Sevens Series.

He did not make Gareth Baber’s 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup (Melrose) in San Francisco due to injury.

But the 6ft 5in sevens star joined Edinburgh Rugby in Scotland for the Pro14 competition ahead of the 2019/20 campaign

Kunavula’s cousin, Waisake Naholo who featured 27-times for the All Blacks, plays professionally with the London Irish Exiles in the

Gallagher Premiership Rugby in England.

MONITORING SYSTEM

Meanwhile, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor clarified that as per COVID- 19 protocols, tests conducted in preparation for the match against France, four Fijians tested positive.

And based on the recommendation of the tournament medical board and expert advice on the high risk of the virus spreading to other players and to ensure player safety, wellbeing and welfare, the match has been cancelled.

“Based on expert medical advice, all players and team management have been placed under quarantine and are now isolated in their individual rooms,” he said.

“Our medical team with the support of the FFR medical team have started contact tracing and are monitoring the players. Further tests are planned for Monday and Wednesday, prior to the Italy match.

“Morale in camp is high but there is frustration since the team had prepared well and was looking forward to the match, to kick off their campaign.

“Everyone, however, understands that the life, safety, and welfare of everyone involved is always paramount.”

DISAPPOINTING

Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, the tournament organiser, commented: “This was a difficult and disappointing decision, but it was the only possible outcome following today’s test results.

“Whilst we’ve all been eagerly awaiting this match, the welfare of our players and their support teams remain our number one priority,” he said.

“We have a rigorous testing programme in place. In this instance, it is impossible for the Fijians to field a competitive team and we have no other option but to cancel this match.

“I want to thank the Fijian and French Unions for their collaboration and wish the impacted athletes a speedy recovery”

The Flying Fijians next game is against Iltay.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj



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