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Votu to replace Goneva

Emoni Narawa
Saturday, May 31, 2014

VODAFONE Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has named Watisoni Votu to replace the injured Vereniki Goneva, building up for the opening June Test match against Italy next week.

The versatile backline player was named as one of the standby players when McKee announced his 30-member squad for the June Test series last week.

However, Goneva's knee injury was a blessing in disguise for the former national sevens rep. McKee also confirmed that France based and former Fiji sevens captain Lepani Botia is also being ruled out of the June series with an injury.

"We've got two injuries and we have already known that Goneva is out so Watisoni Votu will come in," McKee replied when queried who would be Goneva's replacement.

"Botia is also out with injury and we just still considering our options as who will replace him. We will name his replacement later today (yesterday) or tomorrow (today)."

During yesterday's morning session, only 20 players from the 30-member squad were training.

The Glasgow Warriors trio of Leone Nakarawa, Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Nikola Matawalu will join the side next week after the RaboDirect PRO12 Final against Leinster.

McKee said Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders) and Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs) would feature for their Super Rugby sides this weekend before joining.

"We've got three players playing for Glasgow this week, two are playing Super Rugby this week, Bobo (Sireli) and Api (Ratuniyarawa) will arrive today (yesterday)."

Clermont winger Napolioni Nalaga is yet to join the side. Overseas-based players such as Campese Ma'afu, Tuapati Talemaitoga, Sunia Koto, Isei Colati, Domoniko Waqaniburotu, Api Naikatini, Malakai Ravulo, captain Akapusi Qera, Adriu Delai, Waisea Nayacalevu, Metuisela Talebula and Jim Nagusa have joined camp.

McKee said there could be a possibility that one of the standby players of Emori Waqa or Henry Seniloli feature in the game against Italy.

"I will pick the team for the first game from the guys that are being training this week. Possibly the halfbacks, one of the standby players will be picked because Nikola (Matawalu) will join late next week."

Fiji plays Italy at 3pm next week Saturday at the ANZ Stadium.

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