October 19, 2021
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.”
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.
"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