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Superstar Jerry Tuwai still part of Fiji sevens and being lined up for key role

By Chris Jones
Fiji Sevens playmaker Jerry Tuwai. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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Fiji rugby official are confident double Olympic gold medal winner Jerry Tuwai will continue to spearhead the country’s sevens team and are lining the play-maker up for a key coaching role in a national sevens academy when his playing career does come to an end.

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Fiji defended their gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games but that squad has been hit hard by defections to the 15s game in Europe and to the newly created Fiji Super Rugby franchise. Head coach Gareth Baber needs to be replaced as well having opted to join Edinburgh’s coaching group from this month.

Mixed results in the opening rounds of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Dubai increased concerns in Fiji that the squad would struggle to repeat past glories at the upcoming Commonwealth Games and World Rugby Sevens World Cup.

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However, FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor has revealed he expects Tuwai, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in 2019 who recently got married, to join up with the national 7s squad for the next leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Spain. He said: “Jerry has indicated that he wants to play on and help in coaching too as he looks forward to his future.

“Jerry will make the big difference with the young boys in terms of experience, in terms of talking to the players and the team. We will be very happy when he joins because he had indicated that he wanted to be excused to prepare for his wedding.”

O’Connor also told local media that the Fiji Rugby Union is working on establishing a 7s academy to help grow and enhance the need for players for the Fiji men’s and Fijiana 7s teams. “At the moment we are working on the creation of a 7s academy with its coaches and contracted men and girls,” added O’Connor.

“It will be like the high performance unit in the 15s academy where we identify young players and we train and groom them. This academy is especially for 7s. We will identify young players to come into the academy with academy coaches and we are looking at players who are looking at retiring as coaches.

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“For example if Rusila Nagasau and Jerry Tuwai want to retire, we will use them in the academy as part of our succession plan.”

O’Connor also confirmed that payments for players and officials as incentives from the Olympics Games men’s gold medal win the Fijian 7s bronze medal victory had been full paid.

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