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No progess in rugby: Kubu

January 09
12:00 2009

Written By : MACIU MALO. Former national rugby fullback Jone Kubu says the Fiji Rugby Union has not improved at all since 1987.
And the former Eastern Suburbs fullback has called on FRU to include at least three or four former national reps in the FRU board to steer Fiji rugby in the right direction.
Speaking from Australia yesterday, the 1987 Rugby World Cup fullback said it’s time for the FRU to re-look at themselves and to revise the rugby program in place.
The Navatuvula native from Naitasiri said if Fiji rugby was consistent in their rugby development then the 2007 RWC national team should have reached the semifinal or even the final.
“The qualities of the Fijian players that played at the 2007 RWC were capable of beating South Africa in the quarters,” he said.
“We couldn’t do it just because our boys had earlier set their target of reaching the quarters and that was one factor that prevented them from progressing further into the semifinal or even the final.”
Kubu said the 1987 national team consisted of local players and set benchmark which took FRU 20 years to equal it.
That 1987 Fiji team was known world over as a team of ‘14 wingers and one fullback’ as all players including the forwards have the speed to burn and their natural flair was a joy to watch.
He said even with the inclusion of more than 13 overseas based- players in the 2007 Fiji team, we still failed to better our 1987 record.
“Fiji rugby has not improved at all for the last 20 years. We have set a benchmark in 1987 and 20 years later we failed to improve from that level,” Kubu said.
“History speaks for itself, there is no improvement at all in Fiji rugby and the people running the show at the rugby house must re-look at the roles they play.
“It took our national team 20 years to repeat the 1987 RWC’s fate, I don’t know what they (FRU) have been doing for the last 20 years.
“We need to ask the people at the FRU, do they keep a track of their progress and what measures they have taken for Fiji rugby to keep on improving.
“We can spend time and years talking about rugby development but the bottom line is the performance of the team- because actions speak louder than words.”
The former Rewa fullback said if the FRU was doing their homework surely the national team should have at least featured either at the semifinal or final during the last four world cups.
“The benchmark was set in 1987 and the FRU must see that a program is in-place to keep on improving from that outcome.
“I think we need at least three to four former national reps to be part of the FRU board because they know better what is required to improve Fiji rugby.
“The former reps know the significant of playing for Fiji and they understand better how to deal with the players welfares because they have gone through it during their playing days.
“It’s nothing personal against those currently at the helm of the FRU but they need to consider the ideas of including some former national reps in their board.
“If you look at New Zealand and Australian rugby majority of their board members have represented their countries in rugby and their contribution has a huge impact on the performances of their team year in and year out.”
Kubu said FRU must put its act together now and to start the ground work for the 2011 RWC and try to reach at least the semifinal.
Kubu played 28 games for Fiji from 1985 to 1998 scoring 53 points. After the 1987 RWC he was recruited by Eastern Suburbs team and played for them for 13 years. He played alongside the likes of former Wallabies Tim Gavin, Jason Little, Mark Bell, Sam Payne and John Welbourn.

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