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Knowing Fijians Better

Cotter said the exciting moment he had when coaching French Top 14 (T14) club Clermont was during the 2006 Junior Rugby World Cup, where they discovered this talented Fijian player, Napolioni Nalaga.
06 Feb 2020 13:46
Knowing Fijians Better
Newly-appointed Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter.

Working with Fijian rugby players is nothing new to Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter.

Speaking to SUNsports on Tuesday, the New Zealand born coach said the experience of working with Fijian players has made him really appreciate them. He’s a firm believer in hard work and being fair.

“To play good (Fijian) players is one thing, but to be able to coach them gets you to know them as individuals,” he said.

Cotter said the exciting moment he had when coaching French Top 14 (T14) club Clermont was during the 2006 Junior Rugby World Cup, where they discovered this talented Fijian player, Napolioni Nalaga.

“He was a very exciting player and we signed him on for Clermont,” Cotter recalled.

Nalaga played for Clermont in the 2007/2008 season and was the T14 competition’s top try scorer. Clermont then went on to win the 2009/10 T14 competition.

“And following him (Nalaga) to Clermont was Seremaia Bai and it was a joy, then Sitiveni Sivivatu came in to join us.”

Moving on to coach Montpellier, Cotter said he got to work with burly winger Nemani Nadolo and utility back Timoci (Jim) Naqusa.

“So probably I got to know more Fijian players as a coach and not as a player.”

Cotter highlighted that he really appreciated the players and were able to extract the best out of them.

“As a coach I learnt to appreciate Fijian rugby players, not only as rugby players but seeing them as opposition on the field and as people within the team.”

Cotter is expected to finish off his contract with Montpellier in June.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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