Alifereti Dere says he consulted the “available” selectors before announcing the 21-member Digicel Fiji 7s squad for the Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow, Russia at the end of this month.
Some selectors were reportedly unaware of changes made to the team named at the 37th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s.
Naitasiri coach Sailosi Naiteqe Sr quit as a selector following the team announcement last Saturday.
He expressed disappointment that Dere had not considered their views.
Dere said he consulted four of the nine available selectors, including Naiteqe, before revealing the 21-member team to the public.
“On Friday afternoon, I consulted three of the selectors, (Timoci) Wainiqolo, (Manasa) Bari and (Ro Alifereti) Doviverata,” the former national 7s skipper said.
“I even consulted Naiteqe before announcing the team on Saturday and told him about changes in the team. The rest were not at the stadium on Friday and Saturday.”
Naiteqe yesterday admitted Dere told him about the changes he had made to the team.
“But what I’m not happy with is we as the selectors didn’t sit down together to discuss the team announced by Dere,” Naiteqe said.
Fiji Rugby Union High Performance Unit general manager Mike Ryan said the selectors met on May 20 when a squad of 21 was selected along with a reserve squad of nine players.
“All of the 21 named by Dere at the weekend come from the list. Some of those originally selected within the squad of 21 are unavailable and have been replaced by some players from the reserve list,” Ryan said.
Naiteqe revealed Seremaia Burotu and Nikola Matawalu’s names were in the original 21-member team discussed on May 20.
“Dere keeps on changing the team without notifying us so what’s the use of us being the selectors,” he said.
Dere declined to elaborate further on his decision to exclude Burotu, saying he named the best available players in the 21-member squad.
“The best thing now is to move forward and focus on the most important thing which is the world cup,” he said. Coaches named in the nine-member Fiji 7s selection panel include Naiteqe, Doviverata, Bari, Dere, Wainiqolo, Jope Tuikabe, Aisea Tuilevu, Lote Rasiga and Kali Kalisito.
BY: FIJI TIMES