October 20, 2021
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No Southern Hemisphere-based players

Fiji Rugby Union decided not to select any Southern Hemisphere-based players for the Northern Tour due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed.

FRU chief executive John O’Connor confirmed this during a Flying Fijians press conference saying they had to take in consideration of the challenges associated with COVID-19 including travel and quarantine restrictions.

He added that FRU was not able to guarantee MIQ spots for NZ-based Coaches and none of Flying Fijians Coaching panel and management staff will be part of the tour next month.

This means the 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.

“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. As such Olympic Gold medal winning and outgoing Fijian 7s Coach Gareth Baber has been given the responsibility to lead the pack as Head Coach, 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,” O’Connor explained.

By Romeka Romena  


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