Sevens: Two Fijian rugby players arrested for breaking lockdown rules

The Fijian Sevens team after their win in Sydney.
The Fijian Sevens team after their win in Sydney. Photo credit: Photosport

Two Fijian rugby players have been accused of "irresponsible behavior" for breaking the Pacific nation's coronavirus self-isolation rules.

The two men have not been publicly identified by the Fiji Rugby Union, but local reports suggest they're both current sevens players.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama is furious, saying the unnamed duo are putting "the whole of Fiji at risk", while Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O'Connor says the incident will be reported to World Rugby. 

Fiji currently has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Bainimarama says one player recently returned home from Singapore and "had a high risk of exposure to the virus while overseas", so they were put in isolation in a Fijian hospital. 

But the player then attempted to escape. 

"Unlucky for him, he couldn't step his way past our Fiji police force," Bainimarama says. "He has been arrested and is in isolation at Nadi Hospital."

 O'Connor echoes Bainimarama's comments

"We will take appropriate disciplinary actions against the professional rugby players, including reporting this highly irresponsible behaviour to their clubs and World Rugby," he explains. 

"The Fiji rugby family wants to put on record our great disappointment at the irresponsible behaviour of these two players putting their families and other Fijians at risk.

"Such irresponsible behaviour is totally unacceptable, and we support the actions of the police in arresting these two players and any further action taken against them."

Fiji are the Olympic sevens champions and were third in the current world series, before it was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fijian rugby high-performance general manager Simon Raiwalui is also furious. 

"When you chose to continue to shake hands, you choose to continue to meet in groups, you chose to stay out after curfew, you chose to party through the night in groups, you chose to leave a self isolation hotel, because you want to go home, you p*ss on the sacrifices that these front-line workers make and you put every person in Fiji in danger," he wrote on Facebook '

"Pull your heads in and get with the programme, before it is too late."