Fiji barred from Commonwealth Games
June 10, 2010
Fiji's Watisoni Votu in action during the Hong Kong Sevens © Getty Images
In a major blow to the tournament, Fiji have been barred from competing in October's Commonwealth Games Sevens.
The event in Delhi will go ahead without one of its major draw-cards due to Fiji's suspension from the Commonwealth on the grounds of a military coup staged in the country in 2006. They have twice won silver medals in the tournament, finishing third on its last staging in 2006.
"Its out of our hands," an IRB spokesman told The Daily Telegraph. "It is a geo-political decision taken by the Commonwealth authorities who decide who is eligible and not for their competition. The IRB has no problem with Fiji competing at all levels of rugby, in the IRB World Sevens Series and the World Sevens Cup and of course the Webb Ellis Trophy in New Zealand next year."
The news will also be a blow to the IRB following the admittance of Sevens to the Olympics, with smaller nations' competitiveness on the world stage a major factor in their successful bid.
The line-up for the Commonwealth tournament remains strong as New Zealand, hosts India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Canada and Guyana go head to head for gold.