Smoke clears for Fijian rugby officials

Fijian rugby officials accused of smoking cannabis before last month’s Test against the Wallabies have been cleared of any wrongdoing after passing drug tests.

The Fijian Rugby Union (FRU) said it had ordered independent tests on 14 officials following media reports team management had smoked the recreational drug before Fiji’s Test against Australia in Perth.

Urine tests were conducted by the Fiji Sports Drug Agency and all samples returned a negative result, the FRU said.

“I hope this puts to an end the baseless speculation in the media of the use of drugs within the national team management,” FRU chief executive Timoci Tavanavanua said.

“Several officials have been severely hurt by these false allegations,” Tavanavanua said.

“I hope those media that helped spread this grog-bowl gossip will have the decency to come clean and apologise.”

Meanwhile, Tavanavanua said it was unlikely that Fiji’s French-based winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca, who is currently serving a three-month ban for cannabis use, would be selected for the World Cup.

Caucaunibuca was left out of Fiji’s preliminary World Cup squad announced this week while officials were trying to ascertain whether he could be selected.

His suspension ends just before Fiji’s second World Cup match but Tavanavanua said he was unlikely to be chosen.

“The FRU is not at this stage considering Rupeni Caucaunibuca for the World Cup as he is currently serving a suspension for testing positive for the use of cannabis,” he said.

“Rupeni’s suspension is from all levels of rugby and it runs right into the World Cup.”

Caucaunibuca is Fiji’s best-known player after thrilling the crowds at the last World Cup with his destructive running, but he has made only a handful of appearances for his country since.

In 2005, he was banned from representing Fiji for a year after failing to show up at the World Cup qualifiers, but made a return appearance when his suspension was finished.


365 Digital

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