Asaeli Tikoirotuma is comfortable putting club ahead of country, as much as he’d like another cap for Fiji.
The test winger will miss Fiji’s Rugby World Cup qualifier against the Cooks Islands next month, which is played a day after Super Rugby resumes.
The Chiefs wing shapes as an influential figure for the national team, but it’s understood an application by Fiji to have him released was only filed in the last month.
The application needed to be submitted prior to the start of Super Rugby.
Tikoirotuma says he understands his obligations, saying the Chiefs have to come first because that’s who he plays for all year.
But he remains confident his countrymen will qualify for next year’s tournament.
“Everyone knows how good for Fiji the plan is and me coming in or not there, it doesn’t make a difference so I’m confident they’re going to do the job.”
Asaeli Tikoirotuma jokes with Chiefs coach Dave Rennie being born in the Cook Islands, he was never going to be released anyway.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs are unlikely to fulfil late requests by Fiji and Samoa to release a couple of players for international commitments outside of the designated window.
Manu Samoa wants lock Kane Thompson to attend a training camp this weekend, while Fiji wants Asaeli Tikoirotuma for a World Cup qualifier the week after the IRB window finishes.
Thompson will be able to play for Samoa in that period, but Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says Tikoirotuma is unlikely to be released.
Rennie says they’re bound to release them in June, and everything else is additional.
He says they have a big game the night before Fiji plays the Cook Islands.
National unions have to apply at the start of the Super Rugby season to have players released, and it’s understood the Fijian request only come through in the last month.
HAMILTON, (NEWSTALK ZB)