Fiji players left at the gates

One of Fiji’s props and the team assistant manager have been deported from Australia ahead of Saturday’s Test against the Wallabies.

Manager Semi Rogoyawa and prop Alefoso Yalayalatabua, who serve in the Fijian navy, have been denied visas under travel sanctions imposed by Australia against members of the Fijian armed forces and their families as a result of last year’s military coup.

Both have direct links to Fiji’s military: Rogoyawa is a naval warrant officer, and Yalayalatabua was a private in the navy when the country underwent the coup.

“That is in accordance with Australia’s travel restrictions on the Fiji military and other supporters of the coup,” a spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Military personnel who are members of Fiji teams are covered by our policy on visas.”

The official also stressed the visa ban fell under existing travel regulations and did not constitute the imposition of sporting sanctions.

“The scheduled test match (between Australia and Fiji) demonstrates (this),” he said.

Rogoyawa was furious at the treatment though, saying that he was angered by politics getting in the way of sport.

“When a national team is going the manager has lots of responsibilities,” he said.

“If the same situation was in Fiji, Fiji would never stop Australians from coming here to play. It is sports, it is not politics.”

“He (Yalayalatabua) doesn’t know anything about the coup. I really feel sorry for the kid.”


365 Digital

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