Fiji rugby sevens in crisis? | Pacific Beat

Fiji rugby sevens in crisis?

Fiji rugby sevens in crisis?

Updated 6 February 2013, 11:51 AEDT

Many rugby-mad Fijians are probably still in a state of shock after their team's failure to make the knock-out stage of last weekend's World Sevens tournament in New Zealand.

Not once in the previous 112 competitions had a Fijian side failed to make it out of the group stage.

After coming so close to being world champions last season, the Fijians began this season in fine form, winning the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia, but a much changed line-up didn't fare well in Dubai or South Africa, and then came the disaster in Wellington.

So what's gone wrong ?

Franck Boivert is the National Coaching Director for the Fiji Rugby Union.

Presenter: Geraldine Coutts

Speaker: Franck Boivert, National Coaching Director for the Fiji Rugby Union


BOIVERT: We were expecting them to do better, because we put in place a different selection process, where we basically assembled the best Sevens coaches in Fiji and ask them to come up with what they feel would be the best players in the country to represent Fiji and therefore, from that, we were indeed expecting much better from those players. I did not expect them to play great rugby, because as I said before, I think we're not, we have not defined yet a good pattern of play and of defence. At least the players who should have performed to the expectations of the selectors had from them, and that didn't happen and this is what has been quite surprising and puzzling.
COUTTS: Well, after winning the Gold Coast Sevens, why were so many changes made to the team?
BOIVERT: Right. The coach had decided to have three sides,  and so it would take the players until the World Cup, to evaluate a larger pool of players and that's what he did on the second leg in order to review more young players that he had an eye on and, of course, that didn't go down well at all, especially with the public who expect wins and expect the team to perform each leg and this is why we changed our approach and unfortunately this approach has not borne the fruits that we're expecting in these last tournaments.
COUTTS: Well, will you relook at player rotation, a higher player rotation, in time for the Las Vegas Sevens this weekend?
BOIVERT: No, no, there should be no more rotations, since the selectors have selected a pool of 21 players and we're going to try to develop those 21 players all the way to the World Cup and basically keeping them together until the big event in June.
COUTTS: Well, the starting line up for New Zealand be the same for Las Vegas?
BOIVERT: It would be kind of similar, just little adjustments in some positions, because we noticed last weekend that some players were playing a bit out of position and hopefully, they're going to correct that this weekend.
COUTTS: What has been your reaction to the loss in New Zealand by the fans at home in Fiji and by the management?
BOIVERT: They're extremely disappointed and also kind of puzzled, so this is why we are trying to figure with our own internal investigation what was really bothering the players, that they did not perform to expectations. Even though, like I said, even though we have obviously weaknesses in our organisation and patterns, still the players did not perform like they usually do, as individuals. So therefore, indeed, the management was very surprised and very disappointed.
COUTTS: Alright, the Fiji Rugby Union has appointed former NZRU National Academy Manager, Mike Ryan, as the High Performance General Manager for a three year term, that was just last week, so his impact really hasn't been evident yet?
BOIVERT: No, no, no, he started work only this week, yeah.
COUTTS: OK, so what are the expectations on him now?
BOIVERT: Oh, the expectation is to plan the camps and the content of the practices a bit better, OK, and try to upskill our national coaches, who obviously need to be more aware and more like a computer literate and more literate in the new, in the method of coaching that we have in the modern era, that is our job to educate them and to prepare them for those very, very different competitions that maybe Sevens was in the past.
COUTTS: How long will you're investigation take into what, if anything, upset the players in New Zealand?
BOIVERT: Oh, we hope to find it out before the weekend, the CEO of the FRU is going to be in Las Vegas, along with all the CEO's from the Pacific,  so therefore, hopefully, he's going to help in that investigation along with the manager and the trainer and the coach and the captain.


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