Fiji name preliminary Rugby World Cup squad

Fiji has included 13 locally based players in an initial 43-man squad named Saturday to prepare for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand later this year.

Head coach and chairman of selectors Sam Domoni named the squad after a series of trial matches in Suva and will add seven more players currently injured or unavailable to bring it to its full compliment of 50 players.

The squad, which will also contest this season’s Pacific Nations Cup, will eventually be cut to 30 players for the World Cup at New Zealand in September and October.

It is unclear how many of the players named on Saturday will be affected by travel sanctions New Zealand imposes against members of Fiji’s military and their families.

Fiji has called on the International Rugby Board to pressure New Zealand to relax the sanctions during the World Cup to allow it to choose its best team, but New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has said the sanctions will not be eased.

Among the Fiji-based players named Saturday was Napolioni Vonowale, formerly with the French club Clermont Ferrand but now with the Police Club in Suva.

“It’s really pleasing to see the depth we have now in each position and the improvement being shown by our local players following their daily training environment program,” Domoni said.

Fiji squad: Seremaia Baikeinuku, Vitoria Buatava, Sireli Bobo, Ilikena Bolakoro, Tevita Cavubati, Waisea Daveta, Adriu Delai, Graham Dewes, Ravai Fatiaki, Vereniki Goneva, Sekonaia Kalou, Sunia Koto, Sisa Koyamaibole, Wame Lewaravu, Nicky Little, Gabriele Lovobalavu, Waisale Luveniyali, Campese Ma’afu, Penijamini Makutu, Deacon Manu, Taniela Maravunawasawasa, Masi Matadigo, Joshua Matavesi, Kini Murimurivalu, Timoci Nagusa, Jimilai Naikadawa, Jone Nailiko, Sireli Naqelevuki, Akapusi Qera, Seru Rabeni, Malakai Ravulo, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Setefano Samoca, Nemia Serelevu, Netani Talei, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Waisale Vatuvoka, Viliame Veikoso, Malakai Volau, Napolioni Vonowale, Albert Vulivuli, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Apisalome Waqatabu

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