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Goneva to miss series

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, May 29, 2014

VERENIKI Goneva has been ruled out of the Vodafone Flying Fijians team for the June Test series.

Fiji will play Italy on June 7 at the ANZ Stadium followed by the Pacific Nations Cup matches against Tonga and Samoa culminating with the Rugby World Cup qualifying match against the Cook Islands on June 28.

Fiji 15s coach John McKee confirmed the Leicester Tigers winger was ruled out because of a knee injury sustained in the final stage of the Aviva Premiership.

McKee also confirmed an unnamed overseas-based player was carrying an injury, adding the replacements would be confirmed today.

"We probably got two injuries in the group that was named last week. One we know is definitely Vereniki Goneva ruled out with a knee injury and I have heard of one other injury overnight (Tuesday) and I'm waiting for confirmation from the club so we will be making announcements tomorrow (today) about the replacements."

McKee also confirmed Chiefs wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma would feature for the national side in the June Test matches which also includes the qualifier against the Cook Islands. He said Tikoirotuma and Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo would play for Fiji contrary to what the New Zealand media had been reporting.

According to, Tikoirotuma will miss the match against the Cook Islands because "the game falls outside the IRB window and the Chiefs play the Highlanders the night before".

However, McKee said "they (Tikoirotuma and Nadolo) will be joining the squad to play in the June Test".

Meanwhile, about half of the squad joined the team training camp yesterday with others expected to arrive by this week.

Some of the overseas-based players who have joined the side include captain Akapusi Qera, Campese Ma'afu, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Api Naikatini, Metuisela Talebula, Watisoni Votu (standby) and Timoci Nagusa. Assistant coaches Mosese Rauluni, Andre Bell, Alifereti Mocelutu and technical adviser Alan Muir were also present during a training session at Buckhurst Park in Suva.

"These three days is getting into some core areas of our game and some specialised skills that we need for our game plan and then next week, working more on the specific game plan for the Italy Test," McKee said.

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