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

By Chris Jones
Fiji's Josua Tuisova evades a tackle by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones in Oita (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

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Gareth Baber, who led Fiji to Olympic sevens gold in Tokyo, has admitted there are two nations he hopes to help at international 15s level and they clash at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday when Wales face the Flying Fijians.

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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.

Under Baber, the Fijian 7s team won 11 tournaments on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the 2018/2019 HSBC WRSS title and having opted to end his association with sevens, he will become an assistant coach with Edinburgh once the Flying Fijians have completed their Autumn tests against Georgia in Madrid on November 20. Fiji beat Spain 43-13 on Saturday in the first game under Baber who is temporarily in charge of the national team as head coach Vern Cotter is still in New Zealand due to travel restrictions.

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Wayne Pivac reviews Wales’ loss to South Africa
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Wayne Pivac reviews Wales’ loss to South Africa

Baber told Fiji Times:“Going back to coach 15s, if my path takes me to the Flying Fijians in the future then as I said before there are two teams in my life I can say that, it will be Wales and Fiji. Obviously the reason for that is because it is where my heart is and what I love doing.

“Fiji is a big part of my life. But then I have a bit of learning to do before that as I get myself back into the 15s environment. I have to be put under that pressure and will have to prove to myself that I have those credentials because ultimately for both nations my dream is to keep coaching to the best of my ability and that is possibly something that comes in the future.

“Having been out of Wales for some time, I have the opportunity to play against Wales in the Millennium Stadium – something I never thought would come my way. You want to win every game and it will be strange but my sights are firmly set on helping Fiji.”

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