Best of 2017 : Trouble over Eseria Vueti’s eligibility for Romania

Fijian-born Eseria Vueti was called up on Monday by Romania head coach Lynn Howells in a group of 33 players. As the player joined the squad in Bucharest, it’s become clear he can’t play for Romania against Spain on Saturday.

A new episode in World Rugby’s eligibility saga opened on Monday when Romania head coach Lynn Howells called up Steaua Bucharest number eight Eseria Vueti in a squad of 33 players. As stated in his profile on Steaua’s website, the Fijian played for Fiji A. Precisely, Vueti played with the Fiji Warriors in the 2012 and 2013 Pacific Rugby Cup. Whilst playing against clubs of Australia and New Zealand is meaningless for player eligibility, the problem comes from matches against Samoa A and Tonga A.

As stipulated in World Rugby regulations 8.2 and 8.3, a player who has previously played for a Next Senior National Representative Team against the Senior National Representative Team or Next Senior National Representative Team of another union cannot then play for a different union. Eseria Vueti played with the Fiji Warriors against Samoa A and Tonga A in 2012 as indicated by World Rugby’s website.

Over recent years unions have on numerous occasions changed their Next Senior National Representative Team. Romania themselves changed theirs in 2016 from the now-defunct Bucharest Wolves which held the position between 2013 and 2015. However in 2012, the Next Senior National Representative Teams of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were the Fiji Warriors, Samoa A and Tonga A, respectively.

In conclusion, Eseria Vueti isn’t eligible to play for Romania’s fifteen-a-side team. He won’t be until he acquires Romanian citizenship AND plays an Olympic qualifying tournament.

Credits : super-liga.ro