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Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui steps down after World Cup exit

By Josh Raisey
Waisea Nayacalevu of Fiji is consoled by Simon Raiwalui, Head Coach of Fiji, after defeat to England during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between England and Fiji at Stade Velodrome on October 15, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Fiji head coach Simon Raiwalui has confirmed that he will not look to extend his contract with the Fiji Rugby Union beyond the end of this year.

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The former Fiji lock made the announcement on X on Tuesday just two days after his side were narrowly beaten 30-24 by England in their World Cup quarter-final meeting in Marseille.

The 49-year-old only took charge of the Flying Fijians in February this year after former coach Vern Cotter resigned. With less than nine months with the team, he took them to a World Cup quarter-final, beating Australia for the first time in almost 70 years. Prior to the World Cup, he also presided over Fiji’s first ever win over England when they won 30-22 at Twickenham in August.

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WATCH as French captain Antoine Dupont spits the dummy about some of referee Ben O’Keeffe’s decision in their one-point loss to South Africa

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WATCH as French captain Antoine Dupont spits the dummy about some of referee Ben O’Keeffe’s decision in their one-point loss to South Africa

He wrote on X: “Well I guess it is time to make it official, specifically what the next cycle will look like for Fiji Rugby… I will not be seeking an extension of employment with FRU past 31st December. Thanks again to the players, staff & all the supporters, it has been quite a ride!”

Following Fiji’s loss at the Stade Velodrome on Sunday, Raiwalui said that he “couldn’t be prouder” of his squad.

“The pride’s never gone away,” he said. “It’s there from the beginning until the day I die. These boys are family. Pride doesn’t disappear.

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“The joy is there. For 15 weeks these boys have worked hard and we will celebrate that. We’re hurting now in terms of the result but I couldn’t be prouder of this group in terms of what they’ve put in. They’ve built something for the next generation of Fijian rugby players. They’ve laid a foundation.

“We’re hurting at the moment and it will hurt for a long time because it was something we had built and we thought we could go further. The belief in the team has always been there. I’m bursting with pride.”

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