sad news, World Rugby spin catches Fiji Rugby out

World Rugby spin catches Fiji Rugby out

Opinion: The Fiji Rugby Union was essentially operating under World Rugby’s rules.

Choose Mick Byrne at all costs.

That was basically implied in the statement that was released on Tuesday afternoon from Valekau (Rugby House) in Suva.

No haggling took place.

Senirusi Seruvakula, a local lad and former assistant coach of the Flying Fijians, was gone by the time the World Rugby team arrived in Suva almost three weeks ago.

The following was stated in the Fiji Rugby statement:

The decision to name Mick Byrne as the head coach of the FIJI Water Flying Fijians is in the best interests of Fiji Rugby, according to a meeting held in Suva with representatives from World Rugby, ONOC, Hon. Siromi Turaga, Minister for Justice, Hon. Jese Saukuru, Minister for Youth and Sports, and Fiji Rugby, represented by the Board of Trustees and Cathy Wong, was made.
World Rugby explained that Fiji is in a strong position to compete in the Nations Championship from 2026 to 2030 as a result of the FIJI Water Flying Fijians’ performance and rating at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. It would be damaging to Fiji’s ability to compete in the 2024 Olympics, the Nations Championship, and the

Fiji is scheduled to compete in a 12-team Tier 1 competition that consists of the Six Nations, the SANZAR teams, Japan, and Fiji. That is an enormously important opportunity for all Fijians, the Fijian government, and Fiji Rugby. It ensures playing competitively at a high level and maybe hosting five or six test matches annually against Tier 1 nations between 2026 and 2030.
There is a huge chance that World Rugby will continue to fund Fiji’s High-Performance Unit and its initiatives, giving Fiji the means to be ready for and participate in the Nations Championship. World Rugby emphasized, nonetheless, that Fiji’s consistent participation in Tier 1 teams rather than Tier 2 teams will only ever occur.

In short, during that conference in Suva, World Rugby ordered the FRU, government representatives, and the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) to choose Byrne or lose all of these.

It was concise and thoughtfully prepared. The rabbit was forced to choose as they hung the carrots in front of it.

It will now be a waiting game. Fans and local Fijian union representatives are already raising questions.

Former All Blacks assistant and current Drua coach Mick Byrne has been named the coach of Fiji’s national team. Photo: Photosport

What, then, will happen to Byrne’s job with the Drua?

They have not been consistent in three years – and have always struggled away from home.

The only game the Drua have won away is against Moana Pasifika in 2022 and 2023. This year they were beaten in Melbourne.

Why wasn’t Seruvakula selected? Is there something against qualified local coaches? Was there something that Seruvakula did wrong, which has seen the FRU and World Rugby turn their eyes away from him?

Why is World Rugby deciding for the FRU who should be coach?

Is that a conflict of interest?

indications that something wasn’t right
Fiji Rugby’s complete silence over the appointment was the first indication that something wasn’t right.

Peter Mazey, chairman of the FRU Trustees Board, appears to have lost his cool on the matter after first being ebullient and media-friendly over the position that was being offered.

A lot of people in Suva were asking the FRU hierarchy the ‘cat got your tongue’ question.

Between now and then, the head national coaches of Lakapi Samoa (Samoa Rugby) and the Tonga Rugby Union have been announced.

Mase Mahonri Schwalger, the former captain of Manu Samoa, has been selected by Samoa.

In addition to having played for the Chiefs, Hurricanes, and Highlanders in New Zealand, Schwalger is well-known in the Pasifika rugby community.

Tevita, a former ‘Ikale Tahi and sevens coach, has been selected by Tonga.

Simon Raiwalui, general manager of high performance at FRU and a former Fiji captain, during the academy’s opening. Facebook/Fiji Rugby photo
Raiwalui stated at the time that it would be best for Pacific unions to choose coaches who were not only highly skilled and technically prepared but also, crucially, cognizant of the surroundings and culture of the area.

It’s interesting to note that there have been disputes surrounding the Fijian coaching post.

“As a Fijian from the Pacific Islands, I find that our cultures are remarkably similar to those of Tonga and Samoa. Raiwalui stated in February that “it has to be a cultural thing.”

“There must be a link to the people, our identity, our values, and our reason for being.

“If you are asking individuals to contribute to the team,

On September 10, 2023, in Bordeaux, France, at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, George North of Wales and Vinaya Habosi of Fiji compete to make the catch during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Fiji. Image: Adam Pretty, courtesy of World Rugby/Getty Images

Japan and Fiji were among them.
The debate over Fiji and Japan’s participation in the Tri-Nations Rugby Championship has taken a new turn in the interim.

The body that oversees Super Rugby and the Rugby Championships, SANZAR, has acknowledged that problems still need to be resolved before the two teams can be added by 2026.

They have also stated that talks are taking on regarding the two countries’ inclusion in a new Nations Championship, which is scheduled to take place during the test windows of July and November.

The Rugby Championship will not be combined with this new competition.

“As previously said, we are in the midst of a strategic planning process for TRC and Super Rugby Pacific, and we will not be issuing any more public pronouncements at this time.

This is where the controversy surrounding Fiji and Japan has been reported in the media: “At the same time there are plans to also have a women’s competition under the same format by 2026. Now that would be a big plus for the two unions – Fiji and Japan. But strict pre-requisites include good financial and transparent union management. That puts a question mark on the Pacific Island unions until they get themselves up to par with all aspects of management.” This will feature matches between the six “6 Nations” teams in the north and six southern hemisphere nations.



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