'It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform Fiji...' - Baber quits
Fijian 7s gold medal winning Head Coach Gareth Baber has decided not to renew his contract with the Fiji Rugby as he targets a move back into 15s rugby.
Fijian officials were hoping that Baber would accept an offer to take the team to next Olympics but having successfully plotted the defence of the gold medal won in Rio at the Japan games Baber said “It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform Fiji Rugby and the people of Fiji that I will not be accepting the contract offer to coach the Fijian 7s Team to the next Olympic Games. I have a burning ambition to challenge my coaching again in the 15’s environment and know that I must immerse myself in this if I’m truly to be measured and to progress in my coaching career.
“I’m an individual who is driven by the challenge of the sport that I love, and this is what brought me to Fiji in the first place, the chance to coach the best 7s team in the best rugby nation in the world.My family and I have lived the sporting experiences in Fiji that I never thought would have been possible and I cannot express my gratitude enough to the FRU Board and everyone for supporting us on our journey.”
FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor said:“We totally respect the decision made by Gareth and thank him for his service to Fiji Rugby and to Fiji. We are all proud of Gareth achievement culminating in the gold medal defence at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
“Gareth has sought consideration to be released early from his contract by the 30th of November 2021 and the Board has accepted and endorsed his request as such Gareth’s last day with the Fiji Rugby Union will be on the Tuesday, the 30th of November 2021.”
O’Connor also confirmed the position of the Fijian 7s Head Coach will be advertised. “While we are going through the process of advertising the position and going through the recruitment process, the Fijiana 7s Head Coach Saiasi Fuli will be overseeing the Fijian 7s program and will be supported by dual Olympic Gold Medal winner and Captain Jerry Tuwai as the Team prepare for the Dubai 7s which will be held from the 26th to the 27th of November,” added O’Connor.
“While Coach Fuli is committed to the Fijiana 7s program until the World Cup in South Africa, he has also agreed to assist in preparing the Fijian 7s Team and we are thankful and grateful to him for agreeing to take up the challenge of preparing the Fijian 7s Team with the support of Jerry Tuwai.” Baber will be providing support to the Team and to Coach Fuli as the Team builds up to the Dubai 7s.
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