The Fiji squad have been holed up in a French hotel for 22 days and are now hoping to show the rugby world what it’s been missing for the past month.

Fiji have emerged at last from their coronavirus nightmare and are ready to make a belated entrance into the Autumn Nations Cup by playing against Georgia at Murrayfield this Saturday.

The Fiji squad began gathering in France on 25 October, but their three pool matches against France, Italy and Scotland on successive Saturdays in November were cancelled and declared as 28-0 losses after multiple positive tests for Covid-19.

The squad including global superstars in centre Semi Radradra and lock Leone Nakarawa have been holed up in a motel 20kms north of Saint-Etienne for the last 22 days, after being ordered into a fortnight of enforced isolation.

But they have returned to training on Monday and will fly to Edinburgh on Thursday to face the Georgians in a meeting of the teams who finished fourth in the two groups of the autumn event.

Vern Cotter, the Fiji head coach who will finally take charge of his first match after starting the job in the summer, told i: “It was a great feeling to see the boys out on the field training this morning, having fun throwing the ball around, even if the temperature was minus four degrees.

“We have had our stand-down, 14 days of isolation and now we have the opportunity to drag something out of the competition.”

Cotter believes the source of the outbreak – which was at its height when 22 players and seven management from the 46-strong party tested positive on 16 November – was a five-hour bus trip between Limoges and Saint-Etienne on 8 November, the day the team became an official part of the Autumn Nations Cup which is being run by the Six Nations.


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