Rugby: Fiji player tests positive for COVID ahead of France test

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(Reuters) - A Fijian player has tested positive for the novel coronavirus just days before their opening Autumn Nations Cup test against France in Vannes, Fiji Rugby said on Friday without identifying him.

"Tests conducted after relocating to our tournament base has returned a positive case of COVID-19. The concerned player had previously tested negative prior to joining pre-camp and while in pre-camp and has so far shown no symptoms," Fiji Rugby’s chief executive John O’Connor said in a statement.

"As part of the COVID-19 tournament protocols, the player has been isolated and is being monitored by our medical team,” O’Connor said, adding he was confident the player would be cleared when the next test results were received.

Cotter has picked nine uncapped players in the matchday squad as Fiji play their first match since last year’s World Cup. The loose trio of number eight Johnny Dyer and flankers Kitione Kamikamica and Mesulame Kunavula make their debuts while another six uncapped players are on the bench.

Cotter said he had not made any major changes in the playing style but sought to bring in a little bit of structure.

"Most of these players are among the most instinctive players in world. We don’t want to restrict their instinct of open running rugby but we just want to strengthen our set piece and create an environment where there is proper system that can get the best out of our players when we have possession or when we are defending,” he added.

Team:

15-Kini Murimurivalu, 14-Josua Tuisova, 13-Waisea Nayacalevu, 12-Levani Botia, 11-Nemani Nadolo, 10-Ben Volavola, 9-Frank Lomani, 8-Johnny Dyer, 7-Kitione Kamikamica, 6-Mesulame Kunavula, 5-Albert Tuisue, 4-Tevita Ratuva, 3-Mesake Doge, 2-Sam Matavesi, 1-Peni Ravai

Replacements: 16-Tevita Ikanivere, 17-Haereiti Hetet, 18-Samuela Tawake, 19-Temo Mayanavanua, 20-Manueli Ratuniyarawa, 21-Simione Kuruvoli, 22-Serupepeli Vularika, 23-Setareki Tuicuvu.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Alison Williams, Robert Birsel)