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Fiji Time: 6:02 PM on Friday 18 April

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The French flavour

Kameli Rakoko
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

AS we seek answers to our rugby problems, 2013 has seen the increase in the activity of the revolving door policy we have come to adopt in regards to the hiring and firing of rugby officials.

We can only hope that it is a temporary situation as the big wigs at Rugby House meet and ponder and have had sleepless nights trying to find the perfect solution for the future as we head for 2014.

CEO Manasa Baravilala, Mike Ryan, Timoci Wainiqolo, Alivereti Dere and recently Franck Boivert have come and gone through the transit lounge, while Wainiqolo has returned to another assignment as Fijiana coach, all in 2013.

A former wharfie was known to have had only one English phrase in his limited vocabulary to sum up whatever the subject of discussion was he came across, in his intoxicated state.

"Something, some wrong, somewhere," he usually mumbled, according to another retired wharfie Kinoya's 85-year-old Apenisa Nawaikui.

The latest fiasco is the termination of Fiji Rugby Union High Performance Unit manager Franck Boivert's contract by the same body which hired him.

The Frenchman definitely deserves better treatment than what he was given.

Boivert has done a lot for Fiji rugby and for the country as a whole than some trigger happy officials out there.

We believe that it could have been handled otherwise with more tact and diplomacy.

In terms of the number of rugby players now playing overseas, especially in France, boosting government coffers through foreign exchange, he deserves better treatment.

A couple of years ago, 200 Fijian players were playing rugby in France and the number has increased ever since and Boivert has been one of the contacts for overseas clubs for our rugby.

In rugby development Boivert has been involved in Oceania rugby and with Nadroga rugby since 2004 when he was invited by the committee to hold a diploma in coaching course there for club coaches, primary schoolteachers and secondary schoolteachers.

The idea was to have uniformity in rugby development within the ranks from Kaji rugby to the major union side.

Lionel Danford and Napolioni Locoloco were the teachers from the province's biggest secondary boarding school of Nadroga/ Navosa High School.

Primary schoolteacher Etika Tovilevu was at Waicoba and has had stints with the Navosa Rugby Union and now continues as the mentor with Ratu Filise Rugby Club in Namatakula, in union and league.

Danford had gone on to Ratu Navula Secondary and Ba Provincial and has been a major influence on rugby development in West rugby schools with his technical know-how from Boivert's influence.

Locoloco has remained with Nadroga/Navosa ever since and has had a couple of assignments in the HSBC Sevens World Series overseas and continues to develop players.

The majority of Nadroga rugby reps now playing for the champion union attended Nadroga/Navosa High School and the latest talent in sevens rugby Semi Kunatani also went there.

Locoloco even advised him to play in Nadi because there were many good loose forwards in Nadroga.

Danford and former QVS coach Elemaca Ravulo took the under-18 side to a historic win over the New Zealand under-18.

Boivert was especially the man behind the success as he had spent time preparing the side prior to departure.

Unfortunately, Boivert's diploma in coaching course was scrapped when Kiwi coach Wayne Pivac was head coach here.

Our rugby has been overly influenced by Kiwi and Aussie rugby coaching through the International Rugby Board coaching level and maybe that is why we are not able to beat them and the gap is widening still.

The beauty of rugby union is that there are hundreds of options available to win games.

So it would be to our advantage to have the best of Aussie, Kiwi, French and English coaching styles on our fingertips.

Flying Fijians coach Inoke Male's contract will expire soon and someone suggested in the media that an overseas coach could be eyed to take over.

As Englishman Ben Ryan has given our sevens rugby a breath of life so could Boivert breathe some French flavour to Fijian fifteens rugby if the position is vacant.

Boivert had freely given his service to Fiji rugby over the years and it is only proper to return the favour.

He has the credentials and the results to prove himself with.

Some simple paper signing and Christmas goodwill will solve the problem.

Someone said something like — 'it's great to be great, but it is greater to be human'.