Wed, 26 July 2017
Last Updated: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 2pm
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MP: Ball in FRU's court

SUVA, (FIJI TIMES) ---THE ball is now in Fiji Rugby Union's court to make use of the reputation Fiji has in rugby as Olympic champions and come up with strategies to contract players.

These were the sentiments of Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou after revelations that the Fiji 7s players to the first leg of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series were yet to be contracted.

"It is in our bewildered dream to contract the players as we did in the past," he said.

"The ball is in the FRU court to come with strategies and make use of the reputation we have in rugby as the Olympics champion."

FRU is yet to say why it cannot sign players for a short-term contract until the new coach Gareth Baber takes charge.

In a statement replying to revelation by former Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan, FRU chief executive officer John O'Connor said the union was waiting for Baber to make his own selection on players he wanted contracted.

FRU has also asked that Ryan move on and leave the team to Baber.

In response, Ryan tweeted to Fiji Rugby, "If you want me to step back perhaps you should extend the gesture and remove my photo from your top banner on your website."

The tweets have gone viral.

Ryan has also maintained that he is still 100 per cent behind the Fiji team and "players don't deserve this treatment".

This newspaper was reliably informed that Fiji 7s players are getting $50 a day while in Fiji during camps as allowances and $100 when they travel with the team.

In 2012, New Zealand Rugby Union's annual 7s base salaries ranged from $25,000 to $45,000, plus $2000 for each tournament appearance.

Meanwhile, Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has also joined the calls made to FRU for players to be contracted.

He said given the unprecedented media and global attention Fiji's win had garnered, it was only right that FRU should do the right thing and contract the players and not shoot the messenger -- Ryan.

"This is where the $40m sponsorship by Vodafone is to be used by the FRU. After all, the team's Rio win is also a win for the sponsors, so it is only right that they are contracted and paid handsomely for their efforts for our nation."
He added that the days when FRU takes players for granted should be well over and done with.



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