Former All Blacks midfielder Seta Tamanivalu has been included as one of 10 new caps in the Fiji squad for the upcoming Pacific Nations Cup.
Tamanivalu qualifies for Fiji under World Rugby’s new eligibility laws, whereby test-capped players can represent a second nation that they are eligible for via birthright following a three-year stand down period.
Born-and-raised in Fiji, Tamanivalu played three tests for the All Blacks in 2016 before featuring in two non-tests in 2017, but hasn’t played any international rugby since then.
That makes the 30-year-old Toshiba Brave Lupus star available for Fijian selection, and he has been duly included in Vern Cotter’s 34-man squad to face Samoa, Tonga and Australia A next month.
Nine other players join Tamanivalu in line to make their test debuts for Fiji, all of whom played for the Fijian Drua in their maiden Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
Those players are locks Isoa Nasilasila and Ratu Leone Rotuisolia, loose forwards Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta and Rusiate Nasove, halfback Peni Matawalu, midfielders Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota, and outside backs Vinaya Habosi and Ilaisa Droasese.
Those additional players are props Haereiti Hetet and Manasa Saulo, hookers Tevita Ikanivere and Mesu Dolokoto, halfbacks Frank Lomani and Simione Kuruvoli, and first-five Teti Tela.
Fiji will be captained by Levani Botia, who has been listed as a loose forward despite having played his entire test career as a midfielder.
Botia is joined by other headline names such as Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu, first-five Ben Volavola, Vilimoni Botitu and wing Manasa Mataele.
Fiji will open their Pacific Nations Cup campaign against Tonga in Suva on July 2 before they host Australia A and Samoa in Lautoka on July 9 and July 16.