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Jones back in the frame

INDRA SINGH
Sunday, January 21, 2007

FORMER Wallaby and Brumbies mentor Eddie Jones is being eyed as a technical advisor for Fiji rugby to the World Cup.

With the sport's quadrennial showpiece only eight months, the Fiji RU is scrambling to cover for the unexpected departure of FMF-sponsored Flying Fijians coach Wayne Pivac.

Pivac resigned on Friday, saying the toll was too great on his family.

Rugby House remains tight-lipped on Pivac's resignation but sacked Wallaby coach Jones, who is now with the Reds, is back in contention.

He is joined in the race or the Fiji job by several other Super 14 franchises coaches in Australia and New Zealand to help the yet to be named Fiji coach.

Jones will be top choice if speculation Ilivasi Tabua will named coach proves correct.

Tabua and Jones are close friends.

Tabua, late last year spent some time with Jones and the Queensland Reds as part of a coaching study.

The only drawback is that whoever is picked as a technical advisor will only be able to join the national side after the Super 14 in May.

Jones couldn't comment as he was busy preparing for a pre-season match against Samoa last night.

Reds head of media and communications Paul Reid confirmed the union would be willing to help Fiji.

"As for Queensland rugby, we will be willing to assist in anyway we can," Reid said.

"We have a commitment for assisting and helping rugby in the region and that's one of the reasons we will be willing to help, if required."

He said if Jones was to be involved with Fiji there would issues to work out.

"Eddie is employed by us and if Fiji want him than we will have to see what is best for Queensland," he said.

"He is employed by us and we will have to work out a time frame if he is to help Fiji as we don't want anything to disrupt the Reds."

Tabua is attending a level four IRB coaching course in Auckland and returns tomorrow after which an emergency meeting is expected to take place.

Pivac has clarified he didn't resign because of differences within the FRU.

"I know there is some talk going around and many people have said to me that there are other reasons why I have resigned, but that is not true," Pivac said.

"It is about my family and after discussions with FRU I decided to take this stand."

High Performance Unit manager Peter Murphy said while it was sad to see Pivac go, work would continue.

"The HPU work has been separate and it shouldn't have much effect with Wayne leaving," Murphy said.

"While there will be slight affect to the build-up to the World Cup, plans have already been drawn up and we need to follow that."

Kiwi Mac MacCallion coached Fiji to World Cup in 2003.





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