October 20, 2021
Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O’Connor reiterates that Vern Cotter remains Flying Fijians Head Coach.
This is after O’Connor received numerous queries regarding the status and involvement of Cotter following the announcement yesterday of the Flying Fijians 28-member squad, coaching panel and the management staff for the November tour.
O’Connor said that Cotter and his set of assistant coaches based in New Zealand had full involvement in selecting the squad and assisted in the selecting support staff for the tour.
“It’s rather unfortunate that Coach Cotter and the assistant coaching staff and management including the Southern Hemisphere players could not travel to the North, but this hasn’t dampened their involvement in the selection of the team,” O’Connor explained.
Cotter told FRU media that with the assistance of his coaches based in New Zealand, they have managed to assemble a great team with an experienced set of coaches from Europe.
“I got in touch with Dugan Hodge who was my assistant in Scotland, Rory Best, who I knew from my time with Scotland, also captained the Irish team during the Six Nations and then we always had Richie Gray up there who was part of the Autumn Nations Cup and Gareth Baber who is in Europe and has experience working with Fijian players became a natural choice to take over my position for this tour.”
“We are constantly meeting each other on zoom calls, exchanging information on what we were doing, our themes in set pieces and line-outs and other points that need to be driven to make this team better with the players we have selected.”
Cotter believes the players will play a vital role in assisting the coaches to formulate a competitive team for the three test matches against Spain, Wales and Georgia.
“The players themselves are experienced and they will take a lead role in this to ensure there is continuity. They will also have to stand up and take responsibility as well for the campaign.”
“I believe they will give their best shot because they are passionate about the team and they want to do well so that we have a better journey to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France,” Cotter added.
By Romeka Romena