Skinstad not back this year

2000-11-02 19:42

Port Elizabeth - Three of the best rugby players ever in the sevens discipline will not be playing for Fiji in the opening tournament of the International Rugby Board's (IRB) Grand Prix series on 18 and 19 November in Durban.

The planned return of Bobby Skinstad via this route has also been postponed.

Marika Vunibaka, Waisele Serevi and Vilimoni Delasau are not available for Fiji's initial onslaught for Grand Prix glory, due to other commitments, and they may even miss the second tournament in the series, Air Emirates' Dubai Classic, on 24 and 25 November. Skinstad has not played rugby since sustaining an injury in the World Cup Tournament last year. Earlier remarks by this popular player sparked hope that he would make his return to rugby this month in the sevens tournament.

It was hoped that Skinstad would make his comeback in Durban, and use this discipline to regain his self-confidence on the rugby field. The South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu), from a marketing point of view, were also hoping that Skinstad would play this month.

"Skinstad will not play any rugby this year," Anthony Mackaiser from Sarfu confirmed.

Vunikaba asked for a breather after having played continuous rugby for the past few months in the New Zealand NPC provincial series for Canterbury, the Fijian rugby website, reported.

It is reported that he also played for the Crusaders in the Super 12 competition and wants to rest a while before making another rugby appearance.

Serevi, Delasau and Vili Satala are involved with French clubs' European Cup commitments, and did not receive permission to travel to South Africa. In addition, the playmaker Seremaia Bai has recently signed a contract with the Welsh club team Tonmawr and can also not play for Fiji.

Regular players, such as Jope Tuikab, Seta Tawake, Saimoni Rokini and Taniela Qauqau will therefore have to lay the foundation for new, unknown players from Fiji, to surprise their opponents.

Meanwhile, Sarfu has quietly released the names of their contracted sevens specialists.

Dirkie Strydom, Andries Fourie, Jacques Olivier, Paul Treu, Johan Calitz, Helgard Brink, Tobela Mdaka, and Mac Masina will be paid by Sarfu in future to keep South Africa's flag flying high on the sevens field.

These eight form the core of the Springboks sevens team's onslaught at this year's Grand Prix series, and for the World Cup tournament being held in 2001 in Mar de Plata, Argentina.