WELLINGTON - Two Fiji sevens rugby players have been omitted from their squad for the Wellington sevens tournament because of their ties to the military.
Emosi Mulevoro and Mosese Saunivanua, officers in the Fiji navy, were part of a 16-strong training squad but visas for the pair were not sought because of sanctions put in place by the New Zealand government after the military coup in 2006.
Travel restrictions were imposed on members of the Fiji military and their relatives by the New Zealand government. Fiji assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo told the FijiLive website it did not apply for visas for Mulevoro and Saunivanua because of the travel ban.
"It's obvious of sanctions in place that they would not be allowed in, that is why we did not apply for their NZ visas," Wainiqolo said.
The 12-man squad for Wellington will be confirmed on Thursday. The pair were non-travelling reserves for Wellington and Las Vegas and visas had been sought for the US leg of the series in case they were called upon. The Wellington sevens tournament is on February 1-2.
New Zealand leads the world series with 60 points ahead of France (46) and Fiji (44).