SPORTS

Invest For Future: Blackie

Developing athletes take years to produce the targeted results, says Josh Blackie. This was the sentiments shared by International Rugby Players Association representative and former All Blacks 7s rep, Josh
12 Dec 2015 11:54
Invest For Future: Blackie
The participants Venioni Toga (left) and Miriama Nayobasali during the Elite Player Pathway Acedamy launch at GPH by Fiji Rugby Union yesterday.

Developing athletes take years to produce the targeted results, says Josh Blackie.

This was the sentiments shared by International Rugby Players Association representative and former All Blacks 7s rep, Josh Blackie, who was part of the Elite Player Pathway Academy launch at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday.

“I think it’s always important to invest in the up and coming talent to get the results. It doesn’t just happen overnight,” Blackie said.

“You need to invest over a number of years and develop the talent coming through, the focus isn’t about next year or the year after, the results will come in 2023 Rugby World Cup or 2020 Olympic Games, that’s when you start to see the benefits of such programmes.”

Blackie, who arrived in the country on Wednesday and flew out last night, said the academy was a platform to not only build professional athletes but human beings off the field.

“From a Player Association point of view, our role is making sure that there is not only focus on the players as athletes but as people,” he said.

“We need to make sure that they develop skills on the field and away from the field as well as developing their skills as people.

“It’s a big focus for us and I think the work that Fiji Rugby Union has done in terms of making it a world class programme is just great and the opportunity is there now for the guys and girls to go and make the most of it.”

Also commending the FRU on the academy was World Rugby services manager-Oceania Bruce Cook. He said the academy will grow players who will be better than those who are currently playing in the national teams.

“If we think that the Telecom Fijiana, Vodafone Flying Fijians and the Vodafone Fijian 7s teams are playing well, wait a couple of years down the line when these guys come through the programmes,” Cook said.

“None of the players currently in the national squads have ever gone through such a programme like these inductees.

“Starting at 18-years-old, they will be mentally tough and attuned to the game and they will be exceptional, that’s a great innovation by the Fiji Rugby Union.”



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