THE Digicel Fiji sevens side has lost the services of another key man ahead of the Gold Coast 7s title defence in Australia next month .
Skipper Setefano Cakau, has declared his unavailability for the first leg of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Cakau and Taniela Rawaqa are leaving for Sri Lanka where they are reported to be playing for the Navy Sports Club in the Sri Lankan premier rugby competition.
Cakau’s absence adds to Fiji’s misery of losing assistant coach Etuate Waqa, the man who guided the team to victory last year.
Waqa has joined the Tongan Rugby Union as their 7s director and Wardens coach Timoci Wainiqolo has been appointed in his place
According to a report on the Fiji Rugby Union website, “Cakau will be leaving for Sri Lanka for two weeks to take care of some work and will miss out of the first leg”.
“I had spoken to head coach Alivereti Dere at the beginning of the 7s camp of my intentions to return to Sri Lanka and he had agreed to release me which I am grateful for,” Cakau told the FRU website.
Cakau, who didn’t wish to divulge any information on his Sri Lanka trip, said he would be back in time for the second leg of the series in Dubai and South Africa.
Newly-appointed national 7s team manager Tevita Waqairawai told Times Sport the national coaches had a capable replacement to fill the role left vacant by the Namosi man.Waqairawai said they would announce the stand-in skipper when naming the team to Gold Coast.
Dere told FRU website he had a lengthy discussion with Cakau before releasing him on the basis that he would return in time for Dubai leg.
The former Fiji 7s skipper said Cakau’s departure would not deter their preparation for the Gold Coast 7s.
“Once Setefano returns he will rejoin the team, and be egible to travel with them to Dubai,” he said.