Rugby Rugby

Former soldier in Fiji rugby W. Cup squad

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SUVA, Fiji, August 19 – Fiji confirmed lock Leone Nakarawa in their Rugby World Cup squad on Saturday a day after he was cleared to enter New Zealand when he resigned his army commission.

The 23-year-old was named in a 30-man squad to be captained by Wales-based Deacon Manu.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced Friday that the ban on Nakarawa entering the country had been lifted after he resigned from the military.

Fijian soldiers have been banned from New Zealand since the military seized control of the Pacific island nation in a 2006 coup.

The 117 kilogram (258 pound) lock was the only Fiji player affected by the ban and was omitted from the side that last month travelled to New Zealand for a Test against the All Blacks because he was then still in the army.

Nakarawa is one of only nine local players in the World Cup squad which is dominated by overseas-based professionals.

The New Zealand-born captain Manu has previously played for the New Zealand Maori, New Zealand Universities and New Zealand Under 21 but is eligible for Fiji through his Fijian mother.

Fiji have qualified for every rugby world cup except 1995 and made the quarter-finals in 1987 and in 2007.

World Cup squad:

Forwards: Campese Ma’afu (Eastern Suburbs), Deacon Manu (captain, Scarlets), Setefano Somoca (Sigatoka Bulls), Waisea Daveta (Gau), Viliame Veikoso (Nadi), Tuapati Talemaitoga (Woodlands), Sunia Koto (Narbonne), Seko Kalou (Kaikorai), Leone Nakarawa (Suva), Wame Lewaravu (Sale Sharks), Rupeni Nasiga (Nadroga), Dominiko Waqaniburotu (Fraser Tech), Sisa Koyamaibole (Sale Sharks), Akapusi Qera (Gloucester), Netani Talei (Edinburgh), Masi Matadigo (Montpellier), Malakai Ravulo (North Harbour).

Backs: Nemia Ranuku (Nadroga), Vitori Buatava (Zhermack Badia), Waisea Luveniyali (London Welsh), Seremaia Bai (Castres), Nicky Little (Bristol), Albert Vulivuli (Racing Metro), Gabirieli Lovobalavu (Toulon), Ravai Fatiaki (Worcester Warriors), Vereniki Goneva (Colomiers), Napolioni Nalaga (Nadroga), Michael Tagicakibau (Saracens), Kini Murimurivalu (Clermont), Iliesa Keresoni (Perigueux).
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