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Jersey Row: Vern Cotter On Why Fijians Opted For Clean Jersey

Head coach Vern Cotter clarified why the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians did not wear the Vaccinate Fiji jersey in their Test match against the All Blacks, saying it’s ‘a delicate
12 Jul 2021 13:41
Jersey Row: Vern Cotter On Why Fijians Opted For Clean Jersey

Head coach Vern Cotter clarified why the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians did not wear the Vaccinate Fiji jersey in their Test match against the All Blacks, saying it’s ‘a delicate subject.’

And Fiji Rugby Union yesterday said they would decide how best to promote the Vaccinate Fiji message in this Saturday’s Test match in Hamilton.

FRU released a statement last Friday on the special jersey to urge Fijians to vaccinate as COVID-19 cases soar.

The FRU and major sponsor Fiji Airways unveiled a ‘Flying Fijians’ special jersey with an important COVID-19 advisory for the historic two-match series against the All Blacks.

However, the team ran out on Saturday night in Dunedin without the message on their jerseys.

Solidarity, Strength

Cotter told Rugby Heaven: “That’s a really complex question and the answers are complex as well. We have not really got the full answer. It was sprung on the players quite late in the piece, and there wasn’t a lot of exchange on consultation.

“As you can imagine, it’s a delicate subject for some, so it was probably better to just have a clean jersey at this stage, and spend some time on how we best want to communicate on this matter and how comfortable the players are in communicating it.”

Cotter was also asked if he was disappointed or frustrated that it happened on game day, he responded: “I think the team showed solidarity and strength with what they did, with a decision to postpone a real communication, and the way they played during the game I think will inspire people in Fiji to play rugby, and these guys were role models for today.

“We need to really work it out, because it’s not just sport we’re talking about now. So, we’ll just take time to communicate better in future.

“For everybody COVID’s hard, it has changed the way everybody lived all over the world.

“These players are based in Europe and are living with it every day, Fiji is now getting struck with it, it is going through a lot of countries, it is a sensitive issue.”

Message paramount: FRU

Union Chief executive John O’Connor said contrary to the media release issued on Friday the Flying Fijians wore a clean jersey against the All Blacks.

O’Connor highlighted the main focus was on the team in view of the challenges everyone was going through to put together a respectable performance.

“We are disappointed that we were not able to honour the wishes of our sponsor but some of the players had expressed concern about having the Vaccinate Fiji message on the playing jerseys. And in order to accommodate those concerns and not compromise our focus on a respectable performance, we decided to play with clean jerseys.

“We will discuss those concerns in coming days and decide how best to promote the message in Hamilton.”

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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