Lote Tuqiri and Petero Civoniceva join team Fiji
Former Australia dual international Lote Tuqiri and rugby league great Petero Civoniceva have committed to play for Fiji at next year’s Rugby League World Cup if they are fit, team officials said Tuesday.
In a coup for the national team, known as the Bati, assistant coach Joe Rabele said veterans Tuqiri, 33, and Civoniceva, 36, had agreed to join Fiji’s 40-man squad for the World Cup hosted by England and Wales.
He said Tuqiri, who played rugby league for Australia before switching to union and earning 67 Wallabies caps then returning to league, was having bicep surgery but hoped to be fit for the October 26 to November 30 tournament.
Forward powerhouse Civoniceva, who represented Australia in rugby league 45 times and retired from the National Rugby League last year, has also pledged to represent the country of his birth if he can remain fit.
Rabele said Parramatta Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne and Newcastle Knights winger Akuila Uate would also play for Fiji if they are not included in Australia’s squad for the tournament.
“Fiji would love to have the services of Hayne and Uate…. We want to have the two in our side if Australia drop them,” he told AFP.
Hayne played for Fiji at the 2008 world cup, where the team made the semi-finals.
The Fijians have been drawn in a tough group that includes Australia, England and Ireland at the 2013 event.