Welcome to Fiji Baber

NOW that the cat is finally out of the bag, we thank the Fiji Rugby Union board for arriving at a wise decision. A big bula vinaka to Gareth Baber.

While Baber’s selection may surprise some quarters, a familiarity with what the board required in their advertisement for a 7s national coach will help us understand.

To say that he has big boots to fill is irrelevant here as he is coming at a totally different angle and will be continuing at a different level the recommendation put forward by Ryan himself.

Ryan had indicated that a national 7s series competition should be the next step for Fiji to make it easier for player identification and 7s development in both men and women.

Baber has all the credentials and has hit the bullseye as he has been Hong Kong head 7s coach and running the HK Sports Institute and he is expected to take 7s rugby to the next dimension. It will also make our bid to host a HSBC Sevens World Series more easier.

He has designed, implemented and managed a 7s program to facilitate the development of up to 50 men’s and women’s senior and junior players.

In the HK Sports Institute, he runs programs with elite departments of sports science, sports medicine, sports nutrition, sports psychology, athlete and lifestyle management and strength and conditioning.

It purely means that the FRU board has done some long-term planning for not only developing the 7s game, but empowering players, coaches and officials in terms of making 7s rugby bigger and more educational than ever.

This move is in line with a recommendation by a previous board in 2013 that the University of the South Pacific set up a new course where students get certificate in rugby, diploma in rugby, bachelor majoring in rugby right up to “masters” of rugby.

Winning the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and retaining the gold medal in Tokyo in 2020 are part of the objectives, but building a strong and broadening the base of 7s rugby locally in the men’s and women’s will be the immediate priority.

With him being Welsh, Fijian rugby has had strong rugby links with Welsh rugby since our memorable tour there in 1964.

We also look forward to some Welsh flavour to the changing room singing before and after matches by our players.

Welcome to Fiji Baber.

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