Arise Sir Gareth



Teivovo Rugby is honoured to award Flying Fijians Head Coach, Gareth Baber with the title of Teivovo Rugby World 7s Coach of the Year – Congratulations Sir!

And why not we ask?

If someone living in a cave somewhere, obviously out of touch with the world of rugby 7s, can award USA 7s Coach, Mike Friday with the HSBC World Rugby 7s Coach of the Year ahead of our Gareth Baber, well we can fix that here in Fiji quite easily.

It was such a silly decision, made for all the wrong reasons and probably embarrassed the hell out of Mike Friday anyway.

After all, the most experienced team on the circuit – Team USA, could only manage one tournament win in the just-completed HSBC 7s circuit on their home ground, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Gareth Baber and his young, inexperienced Fiji 7s team on the other hand, won pretty much everything else this last HSBC 7s Series including . . . .wait for it, not one or two or even three titles, but five titles ladies and gentlemen five HSBC World Rugby 7s tournament titles in Cape Town, Hamilton, Hong Kong, London and Paris.

This after Gareth Baber and his Fiji 7s team also won five HSBC World Rugby 7s Series tournament titles last year!

Not since the 1999 – 2000 world 7s series had Fiji last won five titles, splitting the 10 tournaments of that series equally with New Zealand.

We tip our hat to Sir Gordon Tietjens for winning the most world 7s series hands down at 12 with New Zealand and the most tournament wins in a series with 7 out of 11 in 2001 – 2002.

Coming back to Paris in June this year, their timing couldn’t have been worse: On the evening of the day Fiji won the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series for 2018 – 2019 and in doing so scooping our fourth and fifth tournament titles back-to-back in London and the city of romance, someone somewhere still judged Mike Friday as the best rugby 7s Coach on the HSBC 7s Series.

How could they? Is World Rugby so desperate for a slice of the lucrative US market? Is that it – for purely financial reasons?

Is that what it is? Nothing but rugby politics rearing its ugly head again at the expense of us coconuts out here in the pacific?

When you think about it, this decision in favour of the USA is eerily similar to how World Rugby dropped Fiji like a hot potato in favour of USA (and Japan) for the proposed multi-billion dollar new global competition despite the Flying Fijians being ranked above both USA and Japan in World Rugby’s own global rankings.

Sadly for all of us, that proposal sank like a rock to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean never to be seen again.

As Ben Ryan says in his column in this issue, “Not sure who decides who the end of season Coach of the Year award goes to but Gareth certainly deserved that with the Fiji team’s consistent performance this year. USA had a brilliant season but with only one tournament win and one of the most experienced teams on the circuit, it was a stretch to award that to Mike Friday.
Bottom line though is, it’s just a trophy that hasn’t been won but decided by a few people so I’m sure Gareth won’t be losing sleep over it!” Spot on Ratu Peni.

We rest our case.

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