SOME overseas-based players don't want to risk their lucrative rugby career by joining the Flying Fijians for the Pacific National Cup (PNC) competition.
So says the national 15s team head coach Inoke Male, who added, just a few have shown their interest to attend the PNC trials to be held next month.
Male said they respected the decisions of these players and hoped to secure their release for national duties in the upcoming international matches.
"The main issue here is that some of the overseas-based players only want to be in the Test team because they don't want to risk injury because of insurance cover," he said. The Fiji Rugby Union (FRU), however, is committed to involve more local players in the team. Male have called in the 60 players that were in the Pacific Rugby Cup (PRC) extended squad to prepare for the PNC trials.
Following the fitness test conducted earlier this week, Male said they needed to improve on the endurance level of these players.
He added they would monitor the performance of the local players in the Digicel Cup competition leading up to the trials.
Meanwhile, Male has congratulated Timoci Matanavou (France) and Netani Talei (Scotland) on their selection for the European Player of the Year Award.
The Fijian duo is part of the 15 players shortlisted for this prestigious award.
Male said the image of Fijian players in Europe was always high despite the outcome of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
"They are gifted players and hard workers so we would like to congratulate them for the hard work," he said. Male said the short listing of Matanavou and Talei should set the benchmark for other Fijian players to work hard when playing for their club and the nation.