Editorial comment – Our new Flying Fijians coach

Newly-appointed Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter. Picture: RNZ

Now that the Fiji Rugby Union has selected New Zealander and former Montpelier and Scotland coach Vern Cotter as the man to guide the Flying Fijians, attention will shift to support.

We are told Cotter is looking forward to his new role, and to work with the FRU in developing and strengthening Fijian talent.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to coach the Flying Fijians and to be involved in the development of rugby in Fiji,” Cotter is quoted saying.

He has coached a number of Fijian players during his time at Montpelier in France including Nemani Nadolo, Nemani Nagusa, Napolioni Nalaga and Sitiveni Sivivatu.

He is expected to join the Flying Fijians ahead of the 2020 Pacific Nations Cup in June.

Now that we have finally crossed this bridge, the biggest challenge now will be on the FRU to put in place effective support systems to allow our new national coach to live up to expectations.

Our Flying Fijians must have more international games against tier one nations if we are to be effective at the highest level.

Former national coach John McKee was not given enough of this during his tenure but still managed to fix a number of our weaknesses including our scrums and defensive shape.

It should force us to wonder what can happen if our top players get the quality opposition they must have to defeat tier one nations.

The FRU must provide the platform for Cotter to take us to the next level.

It’s either that, or we may as well just sit back in the shadows and hope Cotter can work his magic against tier two competition, with a top international side thrown in for good measure during the end of year tour over the next three years.

The onus is now on the FRU’s top brass to put in place systems and programs that will enable a top level coach such as Cotter to function effectively.

We have some of the best players in the world.

They play some of their best rugby in some of the world’s best club competitions. Unfortunately we have not been able to translate this form to our national team for various reasons.

We are unable to get them together regularly for quality tests for instance, and we lacked consistent quality international tests leading up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

It isn’t rosy at all.

But where there is a will, there may be a way for us to topple the best teams in the world.

The FRU must take the lead.

We welcome our new national coach, and look forward with great anticipation to an exciting ride. Go Fiji, go.

More Stories