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'We will have a discussion about what happens next for Fiji': Gilpin

By Chris Jones
Waisea Nayacalevu, the captain of Fiji, and players of Fiji stand for the national anthem during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Fiji and Georgia at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 30, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Levan Verdzeuli/Getty Images)

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin has revealed the question of Fiji’s place on the organisation’s council will be discussed in the next four weeks.

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Fiji Rugby was suspended from the World Rugby Council in May 2023, losing its voting rights. Cathy Wong was FRU’s representative on the council before the suspension.

The decision meant the Fiji Rugby Union was unable to vote on any World Rugby issue until its governance and legality issues were dealt with.

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Gilpin told the Fiji Times: “Their (FRU) council rights were suspended whilst the governance review was undertaken. We’ve worked really closely as we do on everything we do with Fijian rugby.

“We are working closely with not only Fiji Rugby but the Fijian Government as well that have come through that government reforms and we have got a council meeting in four weeks and we will have a discussion about what happens next for Fiji.

“Not just in the Oceania region, especially in 7s, but globally Fiji is such an important part of rugby for us.”

Gilpin has also addressed the question of the next Flying Fijians head coach. Gilpin confirmed World Rugby had been in talks with Fiji Rugby and the Fiji Government about appointing the best possible coach for the Flying Fijians, with a decision currently delayed after an initial date of February was touted for the announcement.

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“Whether we are talking about men’s 15s, women’s 15s, men’s 7s or women’s 7s, we want Fiji to have the best coaches and to develop great local coaches in Fiji,” Gilpin said during a press conference in Hong Kong.

“We have obviously provided a lot of support over the years not just in funding but support as much as we can from high performance and we will continue to do that. Our conversations with Fiji Rugby and the Fiji Government have been about what’s the best framework to make sure Fiji has got the best coaches in the short term and a developing grade which is in the longer term.”

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