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Injury forces Tuwai out

Maciu Malo
Friday, January 31, 2014

The Fiji 7s team suffered a huge loss with the non-availability of lanky Pio Tuwai at next weekend's Wellington 7s.

National 7s coach Ben Ryan has named non-travelling player Viliame Mata to replace Tuwai as the team prepares to make amends for their Las Vegas outing.

Ryan said despite Tuwai's absence, the boys want to make themselves and the country proud at the Cake Tin.

The no-nonsense Englishman said he was unhappy with techniques used by New Zealand which caused Tuwai's injury.

"There is only one injury concern and that is Pio Tuwai. Unfortunately, he failed the fitness test this morning and I have named a replacement," he said.

"Not having Pio in the team is a loss. Pio was injured in two-way throw against New Zealand, something I was very unhappy with.

"I was talking to IRB about the techniques used by certain teams, which I think are illegal.

"I will show that footage to IRB to have a look at and say whether this kind of tackle should be used. I personally think it should be disallowed."

However, Ryan said the boys were confident of a good outing in Wellington with the Cake Tin playground being the best for Fiji's style of play.

"We are looking forward to Wellington and playing on a nice fast pitch. Both Fiji and I have had some success there in the past.

"It's a very strong tournament and the boys are so hungry to do themselves proud in Wellington."

Fiji Rugby Union yesterday released a statement confirming Mata had been brought in to replace Tuwai who was nursing an inflamed knee and would undergo further assessment and treatment.

Following an assessment by Dr Eddie McCaig, both Ryan and Tuwai were advised he would need to go through rehabilitation to prepare him for the Hong Kong and Japan tournaments.

Mata will fly out to join the team in Wellington on the next available flight.

Rover Donasio Ratubuli has been cleared of injury and left with the team for Wellington early yesterday.

Fiji is pooled with New Zealand, Spain and France at the Wellington 7s.

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