Leicester Tigers duo Nemani Nadolo and Kini Murimurivalu have been denied the opportunity to run out together in Fiji shirts for the start of the Autumn Nations Cup following cancellation of Sunday’s scheduled fixture against France.
On Friday morning, head coach Vern Cotter recalled Nadolo to the Fiji line-up and named club colleague Murimurivalu at full-back for their first international appearances together as Tigers players.
By the afternoon, however, organisers of the Autumn Nations Cup announced they had taken the "difficult decision" to cancel the game in Vannes.
A statement said: “The decision comes after additional Covid-19 tests were carried out on the Fiji squad following a positive test received on Tuesday. These tests have resulted in another four positive cases affecting close contacts as well.
“Due to the tight schedule of the competition it is not possible to reschedule this match. The sporting result of this match will be determined at a meeting on Monday with the designated tournament sub-committee.”
Ben Morel, chief executive of Six Nations Rugby, the tournament organiser, said: “This was a difficult and disappointing decision, but it was the only possible outcome following today’s test results. The welfare of our players and their support teams remain our number one priority.
“We have a rigorous testing programme in place. In this instance, it is impossible for the Fijians to field a competitive team and we have no other option but to cancel this match. I want to thank the Fijian and French Unions for their collaboration and wish the impacted athletes a speedy recovery”
The Autumn Nations Cup organisers are working with the Fiji Rugby Union to take all measures to mitigate the impact of the outbreak and to ensure that preparations can resume on time for their next match against Italy on November 21.