Epi Kolinivala Backs Franck Boivert As McKee’s Replacement

Kolinivala calls for locals to assist Franck, reintroduce franchise competition
27 Nov 2019 14:38
Epi Kolinivala Backs Franck Boivert As McKee’s Replacement
Fijians playing for Clermont in the Top 14 rugby competition in France with Franck Boivert. From left: Alivereti Raka, Setareki Tuicuvu, Boivert, and Peceli Yato in France. Photo: Clermont


French national Franck Boivert is the man to replace John McKee as the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach, says a former national 7s selector.

Speaking to SUNsports from South Sudan, former Suva Rugby coach Epi Kolinivala said Boivert has spent a lot of time in Fiji and knows how to deal and bring the best out of our players.

“Boivert should be assisted by the local-based coaches,” he said.

McKee’s contract is to expire on December 31.

Kolinivala said Boivert and Waisea Davuiqalita were the brains behind the franchise competition, that was called the Colonial Cup.

“I was at the rugby workshop in Nadave, Bau, Tailevu where Boivert and Master Davuiqalita put forward the franchise competition for us coaches to discuss.

“It was before the appointment of Wayne Pivac and later Ilivasi Tabua as the national rugby coach.”

Kolinivala said the franchise competition brought out the best of the local-based players.

Most of them played for the Flying Fijians at the 2007 Rugby World Cup where they beat Wales 38-34 and made it to the quarterfinals.

These players are Akapusi Qera, Isoa Neivua, Kameli Ratuvou, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Vereniki Goneva, Semisi Naevo, Vereniki Sauturaga, Jone Railomo and the list goes on.

Former captain Mosese Rauluni had also raised the need for more funds so Fiji Rugby Union could bring back such competition.

“Like the Colonial Cup where players would get paid, developed and not leave our shores so soon,” Rauluni added.

Kolinivala also highlighted the need for local coaches to be involved in assisting Boivert.

Boivert is currently the technical advisor for Nadroga Rugby and established their partnership with Clermont, one of the top French clubs playing in the Top 14 competition..


The Colonial Cup franchise competition was played from 2004 to 2008. It was aimed to bridge the gap between provincial rugby to Test rugby.

The 30 provincial unions were grouped into five franchises along geographical lines.

Players not selected for one team could be picked up by one of the others. Players were paid $120 per week plus lodgings.

The franchise clubs are Suva Highlanders, Western Crusaders, Tailevu Knights, Northern Sharks, Coastal Stallions.

Edited by Osea Bola

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