Government says it can help FRU as sevens downfall continues

March 4, 2024 4:33 pm

Match during the game between Fiji and Spain [Source: World Rugby]

Sports Minister Jese Saukuru has reaffirmed the government’s hands-off approach in the affairs of the Fiji Rugby Union.

Despite Fijian taxpayers contributing to sevens Coach Ben Gollings’ salary through the Fiji Sports Commission, Saukuru emphasizes that decisions concerning the coach’s future lie solely within the FRU’s purview.

Gollings, saw his side finish sixth at the Los Angles 7s earlier today after losing 26-21 to Argentina.

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Public calls for change are being acknowledged by Saukuru, who stresses the delicate balance between government support and the FRU’s independent decision-making.

Sports Minister Jese Saukuru

While expressing backing for potential changes, Saukuru maintains that the FRU must spearhead decisions to enhance Fiji’s rugby.

“I mean rugby sevens is piece of cake, we can always make a change at the very last minute, now people are saying it must too late to make the changes now, I tell you it’s never too late to make the change now.”

Saukuru stressed the importance of respecting the contractual obligations of the current coach, emphasizing performance as the key criterion for any potential change, aligning with inherent performance criteria in contracts.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka also spoke about the critical role of rugby and sports in Fiji’s international relations and societal development.

“They have not called for a meeting, if they do not call in the next few days, we will call.”

Rabuka expresses the government’s readiness to engage in discussions with the FRU, emphasizing the importance of evaluating the team’s performance in conversations with relevant stakeholders.

[Source: World Rugby]

Attorney General Siromi Turaga, responsible for appointing FRU’s trustees acknowledged public dissatisfaction with rugby performance, particularly in sevens.

Turaga has expressed a desire to inquire with the board while maintaining the government’s non-interference stance.

“We are going to enquire with the board, and we had discussions with the board few days ago.”

The Sports Minister remains optimistic asserting that change is possible and declaring, “It’s never too late to make the change now,” highlighting the potential to replace the coach or even overhaul the entire team.