Western Province could be in hot water following the apparent illegal use of Fiji Sevens player Sireli Naqelevuki.
According to a report in the Fiji Times today, Naqelevuki – who is a naval officer – failed to seek an official release from the Republic of Fiji Navy. The newspaper also reported that he did not get the proper clearance from the Fiji Rugby Union either.
Naval spokesman, Lieutenant Commander, Bradley Bower, confirmed this to the Fiji Times. However, he did not wish to elaborate further stating that an internal inquiry was being conducted.
The consequences of these revelations for Western Province are not immediately clear â€“ if any â€“ but the pacesetters could be fined or even docked points in a worst case scenario.
“No, he wasn’t released from the force and any comments to do with Naqelevuki will await until his case is sorted out,” Bower told the newspaper. Sources from within the RFN said Naqelevuki was now being branded as a “deserter” after failing to return to work after 21 days.
The source said that employees of the RFN or the Republic of Fiji Military Forces are entitled to 90-days of sports leave and on the completion of this, employees then can only utilise owed leave.
It is believed Naqelevuki did not obtain any form of leave from work prior to his departure to join WP. “He was supposed to have been stopped before departing from Nadi so now we’ll have to wait for his return whereby he will be arrested and will face charges,” the source said.
The other option of arrest is through Interpol but Bower said he was not in a position to answer any further questions. The contracted Sevens player, who came to South Africa for the Absa Currie Cup competition in July this year, also failed to obtain a release from the Fiji Rugby Union.
It is understood the Kadavu man was only given a clearance by FRU after signing a contract with Japanese club Hino last December. Naqelevuki starred for the Waisale Serevi-coached Fiji team in the IRB World Sevens Series triumph earlier this year and has made an impact for Province in the Currie Cup.