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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 21:36 GMT 22:36 UK
Tonga granted Fenukitau reprieve
Ipolito Fenukitau
Ipolito Fenukitau (left) will be playing at the Rugby World Cup
The International Rugby Board has cleared forward Ipolito Fenukitau to play for Tonga in this year's World Cup.

Fenukitau's place was in doubt because he represented Australia in Sevens events.

New Zealand-born Jason Hammond has not been so lucky, however, after the IRB ruled he cannot represent Fiji because he briefly played for New Zealand's A team against Samoa.

Back row forward Fenukitau, 31, won 10 caps for Tonga and played in the 1995 World Cup in South Africa before moving to Australia.

New Zealand-born hooker Hammond, 29, qualified for Fiji though his maternal grandfather but played briefly for New Zealand A against Samoa in 1998.

The chief executive of the Fiji rugby union, Pio Bosco Tikoisuva, said his union was disappointed by the ruling but would accept it.

"I feel sorry for Jason because he has not been given the chance to play Test rugby or to play at a Rugby World Cup," he said.

"I would imagine it won't be too far down the line before a smart lawyer works out a case of restraint of trade and applies that to these eligibility rules."





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