Ex-England rugby forward eyes switch to Fiji

Former England rugby international and Number 8 Nathan Hughes has announced his availability to play for his country of birth, Fiji.

Under the new World Rugby rules, Hughes can wear the Fijian jersey.

But Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O'Connor said the final decision is with Flying Fijians' coach Vern Cotter.

Following a dismal 2021 international season, Cotter could have an influx of new players heading into the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Hughes joins several other players vying for a spot in Cotter's side including former All Blacks Seta Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo, and Wallaby Tevita Kuridrani.

Fiji missed an 'enormous opportunity' to beat Wales on their European tour that saw Cotter stuck in New Zealand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cotter and the rest of the Fijian coaching group were unable to travel to Europe.

Gareth Baber, the former sevens gold medal winning coach, took charge of a Fijian side with majority of European-based players.

The Flying Fijians best Spain 43-13, lost to Wales 38-23 and drew 15-all with Georgia.

Cotter told rugbypass.com the main challenge heading into 2022 - a year before the Rugby World Cup in France - is to "develop new habits that will give us more opportunities to be competitive at the top level."