October 19, 2021
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Baber to coach Flying Fijians

Tokyo Olympics gold winning coach Gareth Baber will guide the Flying Fijians in their test matches against Spain, Wales and Georgia next month.

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O’Connor confirmed this in a media conference today.

O'Connor said Flying Fijians Head Coach Vern Cotter and his set of assistant coaches based in New Zealand and likewise, Southern Hemisphere-based players will not be part of the November tour this year.

“We could have made arrangements for management and players to travel to for the Northern tour but we were not able to guarantee their return with the unavailability of MIQ spots in Australia and New Zealand.”
“We could not take the risk of players and staff being stuck in the Northern Hemisphere in 2022 as such we made the decision not to use anyone from the Southern Hemisphere for the tour.”
“Since we are not engaging our Coaches, Management and players from the Southern Hemisphere, we have had no option but to look at alternative arrangements in the Northern Hemisphere."

Former Scottish and current Edinburgh attack coach Duncan Hodge will be in-charge of the backs, High-Performance Skills Coach of the Seattle Seawolves and former Irish hooker Rory Best will look after the forwards and former Springboks and Scotland Coach Richie Gray who was with Flying Fijians during the Autumn Nations Cup last year will oversee the ruck and contact area.
“It was a natural selection with Baber. He obviously has five years of experience working with the Fijian 7s team, managing high profile players and putting in a plan for the international competition and achieving positive results."

"While we understand it will be a challenge for Gareth, we believe he will jell well with the Fijian players as they prepare for the three tests. We are thankful that Gareth took on the challenge."

"His involvement as the Head Coach will be the final curtain of his five year involvement with Fiji Rugby prior to moving to his new appointment,” O’Connor added.

The Flying Fijians 2021 Northern Hemisphere Coaching and Management Team is:

Gareth Baber                   Head Coach
Duncan Hodge                 Assistant Coach
Rory Best                        Assistant Coach
Richie Gray                      Assistant Coach
Dan Baugh                       Lead S&C
Thomas McArdle             S&C
Matt Lee                           Physio
Brian Downey                  Physio
Osian Griffiths                 Assistant Physio
Matt Johnston                 Lead Analyst
Josh Vuto                        Remote Analyst
Clive Monkley                  Doctor
Chris Thomson                Manager
Alifereti Vakacokovanua Assistant Manager   
By Romeka Romena 

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