Rugby World Cup 2011

Fiji’s RWC performances trouble for govt

Fiji’s RWC performances trouble for govt

THE LACKLUSTER performances by Fiji at the Rugby World Cup have sparked fears of mutiny in the nation's military-controlled rugby union.

A key navy commander is demanding the union’s army head implement key changes or quit his job.

It comes following the side's 27-7 loss to Samoa at Eden Park last weekend, a reverse that has seen it slip to its lowest ever position in the International Rugby Board rankings. It will now have to qualify for the 2015 RWC and is expected to receive less funding from the IRB.

That loss is having political implications in Fiji, where martial law remains in place and media censorship prevents any criticism of Commodore Frank Bainimarama appearing in public.

But with the connection between the regime and the union, censors appear to have let words like “embarrassing”, “mediocre” and “shameful” be published.

Commander Francis Kean, the head of Fiji’s navy, says Army's Land Force head Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga and the rest of the FRU should be blamed for the side’s loss to Samoa.

He says he had been calling for changes that had not been made.

"No comment on Fiji's performance. Let's give our boys a chance against Wales, who knows nothing is impossible if they play their hearts out on the day,” Kean told the Fiji Sun.

“However, had the FRU board taken the time to deliberate on the 25 plus resolutions and motions that Suva Rugby Union had submitted to be discussed at the AGM in Sigatoka this year we would not be complaining now.”

The suggestions included replacing Sam Domoni with former coach Ilivasi Tabua and making wholesale changes within the FRU and its high performance unit.

Fiji is now ranked 16th in the world and faces a funding review from the IRB.

It plays Wales on Sunday in Hamilton in its final RWC pool match.

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