24 Oct 2006

Fiji rugby player faces military disciplinary hearing after going AWOL to play rugby

7:30 pm on 24 October 2006

A Fiji Military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni says an ordinary seaman may have breached his contract by leaving to play rugby overseas without informing the Military.

South Africa-based Fijian rugby player Sireli Naqelevuki has been kept under close arrest by the Fiji Navy awaiting a date for his disciplinary hearing for desertion.

He was arrested by the Fiji Navy soon after he arrived from a three month stint with South African side Western Province last week.

Mr Naqelevuki, who has just signed a contract with South African franchise, the Stormers, for next year's Super 14 competition, will not be court martialled.

Major Leweni says they were never informed of his plans to go overseas, which they only heard about through the media.

"And he did not inform the RFMF. Because normally, if you secure a contract - whichever job, apart from being in the military - you need to appropriately write and request for release from the institution prior to going to any other jobs... and in this case, to play rugby abroad."