(Reuters) - Fiji's jerseys for the second test against the All Blacks on Saturday will bear the message "Vaccinate Fiji", as the island nation battles a spike in COVID-19 infections, the country's rugby governing body (FRU) said.
The jerseys would also feature the phrase, "It's Your Choice" for the match at Hamilton due to concerns raised by some members of the squad regarding the vaccinate message, it added.
Infections in Fiji have risen in recent weeks, with an average of almost 700 new cases reported each day, according to a Reuters tally.
Fiji, which has a population of less than 900,000 people, has recorded over 12,000 cases and 57 novel coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
"We have listened to the concerns raised by some members of the squad regarding the message, and the perspective that individuals have different choices when it comes to vaccination," said FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor.
"In turn, we explained FRU's position and support for the vaccination programme in Fiji, which will help save lives and assist our health authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak."
Coach Vern Cotter had earlier said the jerseys for last weekend's 57-23 defeat in Dunedin did not feature the message because the idea had been sprung on the players late with little consultation.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)