Analysis: No New Coaches For 2022, Except For Drua

Thanks to World Rugby, Trans-Tasman neighbours Australia and New Zealand and the rest of the world for keeping us occupied by allowing us to get involved despite the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.
09 Aug 2021 11:30
Analysis: No New Coaches For 2022, Except For Drua
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s player, Sireli Maqala, dives over for a try during their match against Australia in the Oceania 7s. Photo: Oceania Rugby

Just when we thought our rugby season is over after our sevens rugby success at the Tokyo Olympics, you better believe it has just started. And our players better be ready for it.

And except for the Fijian Drua proposed debuting in 2022 Super Rugby season, the Fiji Rugby Union will have to make do with its current coaches as there will be no new coaches employed due to the reduced allocation of the international coaching grant as announced in the 2021-22 National Budget.

Despite the pandemic limiting our celebrations for our achievements in Tokyo, there’s never a dull moment in rugby and we are so fortunate to be involved in the game which we termed as our national sport.

Keeping us occupied

Thanks to World Rugby, Trans-Tasman neighbours Australia and New Zealand and the rest of the world for keeping us occupied by allowing us to get involved despite the threat of COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The World Sevens Series resumes in Canada on September 18-19 in Vancouver and Edmonton on September 25-26.
  • Europe major competitions like the Gallagher Premiership Rugby in England and the Top 14 comp in France also kicks off next month.
  • Let’s hope our Skipper Cup Premiership begins in October so that out local players can be better prepared for the Autumn International against Wales at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff on November 14.
  • The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Rugby Sevens World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa and the World Cup in New Zealand for our women are some of the premier events to look forward to next year.

But the focus now would be on the Fijian Drua inclusion in the 2022 Super Rugby.

Together with Moana Pacific, the Drua have been granted conditional licence to join the competition and have submitted a business plan on June 30.

While World Rugby pledged a $2.16 million annual package to offset costs, NZR maintained entry next year was still conditional on their final business plans and Rugby Australia’s (RA) support.

It will be operated as a franchise which means it would have a new chief executive officer and coach and an estimated $14million budget to be commercially functional.

Fijian National Sports Commission executive chairman Peter Mazey confirmed that funding would have to come through the Ministry of Trade & Tourism due to the reduced allocation of the Sports budget resulting in no new coaches to be employed by the Fiji Rugby Union in 2022.

Peter Mazey.

Peter Mazey.

Mazey said: ”This was expected due to the financial constraints brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reduced allocations

“Reduced allocations for the International Coaching grant were received in Budget so no new coaches will be appointed in the new fiscal year.

“The Commission did not apply for funding for the Drua as I understand FRU put submission to Cabinet through Ministry of Tourism & Trade.”

We’ve yet to get comment from Tourism and Trade minister Faiyaz Siddiq Koya and FRU chairman Conway Beg although FRU general manager commercial Brian Thorburn was quoted last month saying they are closely to sealing a deal.

Faiyaz Koya.

Faiyaz Koya.

Thorburn was instrumental in the Fijian Government supporting the Fijian International golf tournament at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course in 2014-2018 pumping in $51.1m which resulted in economic benefits to the country of over $200m over the four years and opened Fiji to over 500 million homes through its media coverage.

Brian Thorburn.

Brian Thorburn.

Government allocated $8.6m in 2014, $12m in 2015, $9m in 2016, $9m in 2017, and $12.5m in 2018.

Good news

Thorburn hopes more good news will come this week after FRU president and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Friday announced a $1m package for our Team Fiji men’s and women’s rugby teams for winning the gold and bronze medals respectively at the Tokyo Olympics.

Rugby is in good hands and we can’t afford to miss out on playing Super season with the best in the southern hemisphere.

This is our golden opportunity, a chance to step up and strut our stuff against the best crop in the business.


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