Fiji accept Vunibaka ban
January 11, 2002

Fijian and Canterbury Crusaders star Marika Vunibaka's 12-week suspension has been accepted by the Fijian Rugby Union (FRU).

The incident occurred in the IRB sevens tournament after New Zealand had beaten Fiji 19-17 in the semifinals. Vunibaka instigated an all-in brawl which had to be broken up by Chilean police.

FRU chief executive Pio Tikoisuva told media that they expected more of Vunibaka as he is a seasoned international player. He added that because of Vunibaka's position, there were certain expectations of him.

The IRB decision means that Vunibaka will miss five rounds of the Super 12 and the next five legs of the Sevens series. Because of this, Tikoisuva said he would not be paid for six weeks.

The ban, effective from January 7 to March 31 is the maximum allowed under national Sevens tournament regulation.

"The union supports the decision and it intends to impose its own sanctions in the future for players cited by the IRB judicial officers as bringing the game of rugby into disrespect," said Tikoisuva.

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