Cotter and the rest of the Fijian coaching group were unable to travel to Europe due to the pandemic for the win over Spain 43-13 , the 38-23 loss to Wales and 15-15 draw with Georgia with Gareth Baber, the former sevens gold medal winning coach taking charge of a European based squad for the matches.
According to Cotter the main challenge heading into 2022 – a year before the Rugby World Cup in France- is to “ develop new habits that will give us more opportunities to be competitive at the top level.”
With just one win from the five tests in 2021, Cotter reflected on a difficult year and told SUNSports: “Not being able to travel to Europe following the series against the All Blacks was hard for me and our coaching group. There are so many learnings that need to be pursued; concentration, discipline, tight 5 work in dark places, confidence in our strengths to be worked on.
“We need to believe in our ability; take away everything we give to the opposition like penalties and yellow cards and we need to developing lucidity in pressure situations and so on. But we thrive on challenges!
“There was great energy and purpose in the first match (lost 57-23) against the All Blacks – we got close but we don’t realise yet the potential we have. The leadership from Levani Botia was great; he is a hard-nosed warrior and sets a good example.
“In the Second All Blacks (lost 60-13) test we pushed during the week for the team to improve. Disappointing performance really because we set high standards, the All Blacks picked their best team and we didn’t lift our game to match them. There were too many errors.