Fiji rugby

Fiji make compelling case for a place among rugby's elite

Already a Sevens superpower as champions of the first two Olympic tournaments, the Fijians have played seven tests this season and won five of them with the vanquished including former world champions England, Japan and now Australia. The victory over Australia was their first in 69 years but not a huge surprise to those who have frequently watched the disciplined and well-structured Flying Fijians play this season.

Vern Cotter stands down as Fiji coach

The 61-year-old New Zealander, appointed in January 2020, has left for personal reasons.

"I'm disappointed to be leaving at this time," said Cotter, who led Scotland to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2015.

"The team has made some significant improvements over the last few years both on and off the field."

Cotter is the fourth international head coach to leave his role in the past two months, following the departures of Wayne Pivac (Wales), Eddie Jones (England) and Dave Rennie (Australia).

Fiji rocked by 3 sackings as CEO takes 'annual leave' as internal audit launched

Over the years various Pacific Islands rugby unions have faced investigations over the financial handling of their affairs and now Fiji is dealing with speculation and rumour at a time when its sevens team is preparing for the World in South Africa next month. The move comes just a year away from the Rugby World Cup in France.

Ex-England rugby forward eyes switch to Fiji

Under the new World Rugby rules, Hughes can wear the Fijian jersey.

But Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O'Connor said the final decision is with Flying Fijians' coach Vern Cotter.

Following a dismal 2021 international season, Cotter could have an influx of new players heading into the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Hughes joins several other players vying for a spot in Cotter's side including former All Blacks Seta Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo, and Wallaby Tevita Kuridrani.

The Tier 1 side Fiji should have beat and the England star Cotter may want

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.”

Fiji's Eroni Sau suspended for five weeks

The former sevens star was sent off in the 25th minute in Cardiff for a dangerous tackle on Johnny Williams.

The Flying Fijians were leading 13-7 at the time but also conceded two yellow cards and eventually lost the match 38-23.

Sau appeared before an independent judicial committee via video link and accepted he made direct contact to the head of his opponent but denied that he had commited an act of foul play, arguing his red card was not justified.

'My sights are firmly set on helping Fiji' - Gareth Baber makes a Cardiff return

Welsh born Baber represented his country at 7s and was the assistant coach of the Wales under-20 side before opting for the shortened version of the game which saw him take over from Ben Ryan as Fiji head coach following the gold medal triumph in Rio in 2016.

Flying Fijians make injury enforced changes to tour squad

Star midfielder Levani Botia, who captained Fiji against the All Blacks in July, will undergo a knee operation this month and has been replaced by Apisai Naqalevu.

Hooker Peni Narisia has been replaced by Zuriel Togiatama after suffering a calf injury, while veteran lock Api Ratuniyarawa has been called in to replace flanker Peceli Yato, who injured his knee playing for Clermont at the weekend.

Biarritz back-rower Johnny Dyer has also pulled out of the tour for personal reasons and the coaching staff is still weighing up whether to call in another player.

The man who makes Fijians fly

Naca Cawanibuka has spent the best part of 15 years fine-tuning the country's top rugby talent into world class athletes.

As head of Fiji Rugby's strength and conditioning programme, he's attended two Rugby World Cups, played a key role in four World Sevens Series titles, and was instrumental in Fiji winning back to back Olympic gold medals.

Now he's taking on a new challenges as Head of Athletic Performance for the country's first ever Super Rugby team, the Fijian Drua.

A former Fiji 7s international himself, Cawanibuka said fitness was king.

Fiji, Samoa 7s to miss start of the World Series

The new season kicks off in Vancouver on September 18, with another tournament in Edmonton the following weekend.

But Fiji's Olympic gold medal winning team and Pacific neighbours Samoa have joined New Zealand, Australia and Argentina in opting to skip the Canadian wing because of the ongoing effects of Covid-19.

Fiji's players went more than four months without seeing their friends and families in order to achieve their Olympic dream in Japan.