SPORTS

Cotter Still 15s Coach

This was confirmed yes­terday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer, John O’Connor, after receiving numerous queries over the appointment of temporary coach Gareth Baber for the Novem­ber Tests.
21 Oct 2021 13:43
Cotter Still 15s Coach
Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter.

Vern Cotter is still the Flying Fijians head coach.

This was confirmed yes­terday by Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer, John O’Connor, after receiving numerous queries over the appointment of temporary coach Gareth Baber for the Novem­ber Tests.

O’Connor reiterated that Cotter remains head coach and that he and his set of assistant coaches are based in New Zealand.

“They had full involvement in se­lecting the squad and assisted in the selecting of the support staff for the tour,” O’Connor said.

“It’s rather unfortunate that Cot­ter and the assistant coaching staff and management including the Southern Hemisphere players could not travel to the North, but this hasn’t dampened their involve­ment in the selection of the team.”

He said Cotter and his assistant coaches work in close collaboration throughout the campaign to ensure continued momentum.

Unique situation

Cotter said it’s a unique situa­tion, and with the assistance of his coaches based in New Zealand, they had managed to assemble a great team with an experienced set of coaches from Europe.

“I got in touch with Dugan Hodge who was my assistant in Scotland,” he said from New Zealand.

“Rory Best, who I knew from my time with Scotland, also captained the Irish team during the Six Na­tions and then we always had Rich­ie Gray up there. Richie was part of the Autumn Nations Cup and Gareth Baber, who is in Europe and has experience working with Fijian players became a natural choice to take over my position for this tour.

“We are constantly meeting each other on zoom calls, exchanging in­formation on what we were doing, our themes in set pieces and line-outs and other points that need to be driven to make this team better with the players we have selected.

“We will be in touch with them moving into the game with regards to game strategy and team selec­tion. We don’t want to get into the way either but we will certainly have our views about the matches before preparing for each match.

“It’s been an open exchange of ideas whereby we have freely given our knowledge of the team and players and we have offered videos of our past training sessions to con­tinue our themes.”

Cotter’s belief

Cotter believes the players will play a vital role in assisting the coaches to formulate a competi­tive team for the three test matches against Spain, Wales and Georgia.

“The players themselves are ex­perienced and they will take a lead role in this to ensure there is conti­nuity. They will also have to stand up and take responsibilities as well for the campaign. I believe they will give their best shot because they are passionate about the team and they want to do well so that we have a better journey to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.”

The Flying Fijians will assemble on October 31 to prepare.



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