Give Locals A ChanceTo Coach: Seremaia Bai

Gollings is expected to start in his new role from January 1 and will be in the country for the first leg of the HSBC sevens series on January 6-8 in Spain.
26 Dec 2021 14:18
Give Locals A ChanceTo Coach: Seremaia Bai
Newly appointed Fiji 7s coach, Ben Gollings.

Rugby mentor and former national rep Seremaia Bai was hoping that a local coach should have been considered for the vacant national sevens coach position.

Bai made the comment following the naming of former England sevens skipper and Sri Lanka coach Ben Gollings as national sevens coach yesterday in Suva.

Gollings takes over from Welshman and Olympic gold winning coach Gareth Baber and is the second Englishman to coach the national sevens team.

The first, Ben Ryan had coached the national sevens side that brought home Fiji’s first Olympic gold medal in 2016.

Bai said that national Fijiana coach Saiasi Fuli should have been the top contender for the job as his records prove his capabilities.

“It is every Fijian coach’s dream to be a national coach. It is about time a local coach is given the chance to be the national sevens coach,” Bai said.

“I am lost for words, the naming of an outside is received with mixed feelings,” he said.

“Give Fuli a chance, give him time – he can do wonders.

“But how can a local coach do that if he is not given the chance especially in sevens.

“That aside, congratulations to the new national sevens coach.”

Bai is also calling out on former rugby sevens players to make the move to take up coaching roles.

Gollings is the IRB (International Rugby Board) highest try scorer in sevens with 2652 points.

He is expected to start in his new role from January 1 and will be in the country for the first leg of the HSBC sevens series on January 6-8 in Spain.

Fiji Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer, John O’Connor said it was a vigorous recruitment process and they have the confidence in Gollings to coach the team.

Gollings said: “We had many great battles when I was playing over the years but since I have shifted into coaching, I think it’s no better opportunity to coach the world’s best team in the 7s arena.

I am thankful to Fiji Rugby for giving me the opportunity to coach this team and am looking forward to working with the exceptional group of boys in Fiji. The immediate focus of course is towards the HBSC Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games and the Sevens World Cup next year in South Africa” said Gollings.

He further added “Winning two gold medals back-to-back is something special and I know it’s a big challenge to take on but I believe that my passion for the game meets the passion of the nation so if we can match the two together and enhance the talent in Fiji then we could achieve our ultimate goals in the coming years.”

“I was in Dubai during the first two legs, and I got to watch the Fijian 7s performance live. Obviously, it’s a very new look team so I think my first real focus is just to observe and have really important conversations and start building some key relationships, understanding and the way they have been training so that I really push on the right button” said Gollings.

O’Connor highlighted that the interview panel was impressed with the performance of Osea Kolinisau.

“He (Kolinisau)  was calm and very articulate and very matured, and Fiji Rugby would like to work with Osea get his relevant coaching accreditation and bring him back to the sevens system and start working with future sevens teams,” O’Connor said.



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