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Cotter 2-Team Plan

Former Scotland coach Cotter will take over from fellow Kiwi John McKee whose contract was not renewed after the Flying Fijians were knocked out in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup after losses to Australia, Wales and surprisingly Uruguay.
22 Feb 2020 15:06
Cotter 2-Team Plan
Newly-appointed Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach, Vern Cotter

Vern Cotter plans to work with two teams-one in the southern and one in northern hemisphere – for the Fiji Airway Flying Fijians building up to 2023 Rugby World Cup

The incoming Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach made the revelations as he bade farewell as Montpellier’s Director of Rugby three months early in mutual agreement with the club president Mohed Altrad on Thursday.

Cotter, 58, will return to New Zealand before beginning his contract with the Fiji Rugby Union in June.

Former Scotland coach Cotter will take over from fellow Kiwi John McKee whose contract was not renewed after the Flying Fijians were knocked out in the pool stage of the Rugby World Cup after losses to Australia, Wales and surprisingly Uruguay.

With Fijians playing domestic rugby across the world, Cotter said he will work with two different teams.

“One based in the southern hemisphere and one in the north. The main idea is to be able to follow the players closer to where they play,” he said.

“The average age of our squad in the World Cup was 28. Those players there won’t play in 2023 so it’s important to have two teams to look to the future.”

Cotter tells Montpellier Rugby of his choice and plans for the Flying Fijians

You’re going to join Fiji, how were you approached?

I was approached at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. This project corresponds to my desire to be closer to my family and to return to the southern hemisphere after 14 years spent in Europe. Fiji is only three hours by plane from New Zealand, which means I could live at home and go back and forth to Fiji easily.

What are the reasons that drove you to accept selection?

I’m also very excited to collaborate again on a selection and to have the opportunity to work at the level of World Rugby. It is a challenge but also an exciting adventure, especially since the 2023 World Cup is taking place in France! A selection is very intense. These are matches with longer preparation periods. During this preparation, I will be brought back to France and Europe where many Fijian players evolve. This is the icing on the cake, it means that I could come back to see my friends several times a year

To be at the head of a selection, does that correspond to a desire you had?

I had already been coach of Scotland and I loved it. The biggest difference between a club and a test selection is that in a club, you don’t have to win all of your matches, the important thing is to win the last one. In test selection, every match counts! The preparation is much more in detail. The biggest challenge for me is to adapt to this new culture, because, frankly, the Fijian academies have been very structured in recent years. They have moved closer to New Zealand and Australia to evolve.

How will your day –to –day work?

I’m going to have two teams. One based in the southern hemisphere, the other in the north. The main interest is to be able to follow players as close as possible to where they are playing, in Europe, but also to identify new talents.

Finally, what can you wish for?

A good match against France in 2023!

Cotter joined the Top 14 outfit in 2017 and led them to that season’s final before losing to Castres.

Cotter will be replaced by former France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre with the side sitting seventh in the league table before hosting champions Toulouse tomorrow.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj




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