SPORTS

Cotter: Positive Move

“We all know how important and exciting this Super Rugby team will be for Fiji."
29 Mar 2021 14:33
Cotter: Positive Move
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter. Photo: Planet Rugby

The reluctance of overseas-based Fijian players to play for their country in the hope of securing a contract in either England, Australia or New Zealand always saddened Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter.

“It’s the hesitation in their voice when asked to play for Fiji,” he said.

Cotter revealed this to SUNsports as he welcomed World Rugby’s commitment of FJ$3.42 million of annual funding package for an initial three-year period to support the two franchises, Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika in joining Super Rugby from 2022.

Both franchises will also be supported by their respective unions and private equity funding.

“Yes, this is a very positive start with this encouraging support package from the governing body towards Pacific Island rugby,” Cotter said.

“We all know how important and exciting this Super Rugby team will be for Fiji.

“Families will be thrilled to see professional pathways opened up for local talents and also to see some local players return to Fiji from overseas clubs.”

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer, John O’Connor said, they were working hard to make sure they delivered all the financial requirements to New Zealand Rugby by March 31.

The FRU has already delivered their business plan before the given deadline.

“Then it will be decided if we can have a licence and then we can start to sign players and everything,” O’Connor told Rugby.com.au.

“We are currently in the process of tidying some things up.”

Cotter said he’s hopeful that most of these overseas-based players would now see the Super Rugby team (Fijian Drua) and the Flying Fijians as their number one choice to represent their culture, identity and family.

Vunivalu injured

Meanwhile, Damian McKenzie’s last-gasp try has earned the Chiefs a thrilling 15-12 victory over the Blues in New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa on Saturday night.

The All Blacks full-back crossed the line with only seconds to go before slotting over the conversion to earn last year’s winless wooden spooners a second win a row after last week’s victory over the Hurricanes.

Later on in Stadium Australia, the Reds scored a 46-14 win over the Waratahs in the Super Rugby AU clash.

The bonus point win came at a cost when star recruit Suliasi Vunivalu had to leave the field with a hamstring injury.

Edited by Maika Bolatiki

Feedback: leone.cabenatabua@fijisun.com.fj



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