Kaiviti Silktails team set plans; 18 reps test positive

Members of the Kaiviti Silktails after a training session in Sydney. Picture: SUPPLIED/Kaiviti Silktails Rugby League Football Club/FILE

The Kaiviti Silktails rugby league team’s start to the 2022 season has been dealt a heavy blow.

This is after 18 players and three staff members were reported to have tested positive to COVID-19 ahead of their scheduled departure to Australia last Wednesday.

Silktails executive director Steve Driscoll revealed to nswrl. com.au that the Ministry of Health in Fiji had advised that 18 players and three staff members had tested positive to the illness.

Affected players are currently under quarantine for the required 14 days in Fiji at the team’s Centre of Excellence in the West.

Three squad members are also self-isolating at their homes as close contacts, the report said.

Driscoll said all staff members and players were double vaccinated in line with Fiji’s return-to-train protocols prior to the beginning of pre-season training last November.

Despite the setback, Penrith Panthers and Fiji Bati backrower Viliame Kikau, who was on holiday in Fiji in the past few weeks, encouraged members of the club to continue their fine performance.

He said the Silktails program was a step forward for local-based rugby league players.

“They have been given an opportunity that we were not given and that is to play international opponents,” Kikau said.

“I watched a few of their games last year and was impressed. Hats off to Steve and Petero Civoniceva for giving our homegrown talents a pathway. I look forward to watching them in action this year.”

Driscoll, meanwhile, said travel arrangements for the players and staff members would be rearranged after the quarantine period.

The team will be training in jerseys brandishing the name Fiji Kava Kaiviti Silktails in Australia after the Pacific brand of health drink became the new naming rights sponsor in a three-year deal.

The Silktails’ debut season in the Ron Massey Cup in 2021 had them finish in sixth place with the season not completed due to COVID-19.

The Silktails receive funding and support under the “PacificAus Sports” program run by the Australian Government and designed to expand partnerships with Pacific sports teams and organisations in netball, rugby union, football and rugby league.

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