Rugby | SPORTS

Fijian Coach Must Aid Cotter

A former Flying Fijian star winger believes the inclusion of a Fijian coach in the coaching staff of the Flying Fijians will assist head coach Vern Cotter as they prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
30 Jul 2022 11:46
Fijian Coach Must Aid Cotter
Former Flying Fijians and sevens speedster, Sireli Bobo.

A former Flying Fi­jian star winger believes the in­clusion of a Fijian coach in the coaching staff of the Flying Fijians will assist head coach Vern Cotter as they prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

Sireli Bobo, expressed his view after the Vodafone Flying Fiji­ans third place finish in the re­cent Pacific Nations Cup (PNC), which Manu Samoa won.

The Flying Fijians, after a 36-0 win over Tonga in their PNC opener, suffered a 18-32 defeat to Australia A and 20-23 loss to Samoa after leading 17-3 at halftime.

Bobo reiterated that Cotter and his coaching staff had done their job but it was the players’ attitude that needed change.

“Many fans blamed the coach and his coaching staff but they had done their job,” the former Hur­ricanes winger said.

“It’s the players’ attitude and how they prepare them­selves mentally to get into a crunch match. Fact is, that we lost right here at home, right in our backyard, to a team that hardly beat us both home and away.

“It’s just unacceptable given the calibre of players and the records we have.”

The white jersey (national jumper) Bobo says, is not for showing off because players don’t own the jersey.

“It is for the Fijian people. These players should learn to have pride in the white jersey because they are not playing for themselves: they are playing for the peo­ple of Fiji. They have a huge responsibil­ity when they put on that jersey. They are taking things lightly.

“I don’t know if they know the culture, history and the significance of the Flying Fijians jersey and how important it is to represent their country. These players should know and understand their pur­pose. Why they want to represent Fiji and who they are playing for?

“It seems they don’t have passion for their country and even pride for the jer­sey. The players should take a really good look at themselves.”

Bobo said the current players should know what was at stake when they join camp, and they should set goals that should be achieved.

“They should not go to camp for the sake of coming to Fiji. They should think about all the former national reps who once wore the jersey during those hard times with Fiji Rugby. Today, players are privileged to have everything done for them from training to playing.”


Bobo said there was a need to involve a Fijian coach to psych up the players be­cause overseas coaches couldn’t do it.

“They don’t know how to switch our players on. It takes one Fijian to know the other. Our players respond to the tough words used on them to psyche them up. Our players need to be told of things straight on their faces.”

Bobo, who also played for the Fijian 7s team that won the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens, said the current players should be more disciplined as they were role models to young people.

“It is things like their haircuts and atti­tude that they should work on. How they present themselves to the public, which is very important. This is the Flying Fiji­ans team not a club team. Talent can take you anywhere, but your attitude carries you.”

Bobo’s choice

When asked if he had any Fijian coach in mind, Bobo said he would go for Rever­end Jioji Rinakama or Ilivasi Tabua.

Tabua was the head coach of the Flying Fijians to the 2007 RWC while Reverend Rinakama was his forwards coach.

“Their words before matches lit up the changing room. We were touched and were like a raging bull ready to play.

“We couldn’t wait to get out on the field and get the job done, we need someone like this in the coaching staff. A coach that turns our players into battle mode, ready to go out and win a Test match.”

The Flying Fijians reached the quarter­final of the 2007 RWC after beating Japan and Wales 38-34 in pool play.

They fought back to hold eventual win­ners South Africa 20-20 in the second half before bowing out 37-20 gracefully.


Fijisun Ad Space

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.