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Wake-up call

Emoni Narawa
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

THE writing is on the wall for the Fiji Rugby Union to 'wake up' and employ professional and educated coaches in our national sevens team.

With less than seven weeks prior to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia, former Fiji sevens assistant coach Etuate Waqa, believes FRU should make a bold decision to benefit Fiji rugby.

Waqa says that relying on the past reputation of coaches' who flourished during their prime will only put us a step behind the other teams.

He said FRU should make use of its Informational Technology employees to provide valuable data to the coaches. He said educated and qualified coaches were needed in modern rugby.

"It's about time FRU takes responsibility of our continuing losses in the HSBC 7s series. They keep selecting unqualified coaches to do the job believing that their reputation during their playing days can bring changes to the game," Waqa said.

"When the entire rugby world is getting professional assistance and advice, we are still relying on the Hong Kong traditions to bring back some long lost glories.

"With due respect to all the former 7s greats (Serevi and associates), 7s rugby has made a 360 degrees turn in terms of professionalism."

He said we still could not learn from the top coaches like Gordon Tietjens, Paul Treu and Mike Friday, the Kenya sevens coach.

"Hello! These individuals are professionals in their own right and are competent on coaching standards.

"We have an IT room at Rugby House where IT people are employed to help coaches for game analysis and players' assessment. If we cannot fully utilise all these equipment that FRU had purchased to assist coaches and to come up with better results on their next outing then there is something wrong with the whole organisation. I am so disgusted with all these because they cannot talk and act real," Waqa said.

He recalls the same scenario prior to the 2005 RWC 7s, Fiji lost to New Zealand 21-7 in the cup quarter-final under then coach Pauliasi Tabulutu and captained by Marika Vunibaka.

Fiji went on to beat Samoa 24-21 to win the plate. However, FRU under former chief executive officer Pio Bosco Tikoisuva made a bold decision to recruit Wayne Pivac, Paul Feeney, named Waisale Serevi as captain and retained Malakai Finau as the manager. The result in Hong Kong was evident.

"Come on FRU, wake up it's not too late, now is the time. When the ship was sinking in 2005 leading up to the world cup, FRU made a courageous move to bring in rugby brains to coach, manage and train the 7s team for the world cup and the end result; we won it and it's not too late to make the same decision," Waqa added.

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