Hull FC man to miss Toulouse clash due to rugby union call-up

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Mitieli Vulikijapani Hull FC Credit: PA Images
Mitieli Vulikijapani Hull FC Credit: PA Images

Hull FC centre Mitieli Vulikijapani will be unavailable for Saturday’s match against Toulouse due to representing the British Army in rugby union.

The 27-year-old Fijian has been called up to play for the British Army in the annual clash against the Army for the Babcock Trophy at Twickenham Stadium, with a capacity crowd of 80,000 expected on Saturday (2pm).

It will be the first time the match has been played since 2019 due to the pandemic, which featured former Hull winger Ratu Naulago, with the Army running out 27-11 winners.

Vulikijapani’s switch of codes on Saturday means he will be unavailable for Hull’s Super League clash against Toulouse.

Mitieli Vulikijapani switches codes with blessing of Hull FC coach

Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson said: “We’re obviously disappointed to lose Mitch this week. He was in very good form for us; but this is a prestigious event for the armed services and a notable honour for players serving in the military who are selected for the match. We understand Mitch’s desire to play and what this occasion means to him and his family.

“As part of our arrangement with the Army, we have certain obligations which we must adhere to; of which this is one. So we look forward to Mitch representing the club at Twickenham and hopefully helping his Army side to a win.

“He is obviously gutted to have to leave his club team-mates behind this week; but he will be ready to rip in again on his return.

“We look forward to welcoming Mitch back into our squad next week. Everyone at the club wishes him well this weekend.”

The Babcock Trophy is seen as a major honour for serving members to be selected for the match at Twickenham.

Vulikijapani could return to the Hull side for their match against champions St Helens on May 13.

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