Gareth Baber will not lead Fiji in the 2022 World 7s Series as he is set to leave his post as the sevens Head Coach, the Fiji Rugby Union has confirmed.
According to the Union, Baber has decided not to renew his contract with the Fiji Rugby and will pursue a new opportunity in the 15s game. 30 November 2021 will be his last day in office as the head coach.
FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor has revealed that Fiji Rugby Union Board had endorsed the continuation of Coach Baber’suntil the next Olympics in 2024 and a contract offer was made to him. However, after carefully considering his options, the interest & well-being of his family, and his desire to coach a professional club in the 15s game he has reluctantly and with great sadness, decided to decline offer.
“We totally respect the decision made by Gareth and thank him for his service to Fiji Rugby and to Fiji. We are all proud of Gareth achievement culminating in the gold medal defense at the Tokyo Olympics 2020,” O’Connor said.
Mr. O’Connor also confirmed that the position of the Fijian 7s Head Coach will be advertised. “While we are going through the process of advertising the position and going through the recruitment process, the Fijiana 7s Head Coach Saiasi Fuli will be overseeing the Fijian 7s program and will be supported by dual Olympic Gold Medal winner and Captain Jerry Tuwai as the Team prepare for the Dubai 7s which will be held from the 26th to the 27th of November,” O’Connor explained.
“While Coach Fuli is committed to the Fijiana 7s program until the World Cup in South Africa, he has also agreed to assist in preparing the Fijian 7s Team and we are thankful and grateful to him for agreeing to take up the challenge of preparing the Fijian 7s Team with the support of Jerry Tuwai.
Coach Baber will be providing support to the Team and to Coach Fuli as the Team builds up to the Dubai 7s.
Coach Baber has thanked the FRU Board for the offer of a contract extension for the next three years and for allowing him the time and space to carefully consider his options prior to making a decision on his future.
Baber said “It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform Fiji Rugby and the people of Fiji that I will not be accepting the contract offer to coach the Fijian 7s Team to the next Olympic Games. I have a burning ambition to challenge my coaching again in the 15’s environment and know that I must immerse myself in this if I’m truly to be measured and to progress in my coaching career.
“I’m an individual who is driven by the challenge of the sport that I love, and this is what brought me to Fiji in the first place, the chance to coach the best 7s team in the best rugby nation in the world.
“My family and I have lived the sporting experiences in Fiji that I never thought would have been possible and I cannot express my gratitude enough to the FRU Board and everyone for supporting us on our journey,” said Baber.
Meanwhile, the CEO Fiji Rugby sincerely thanked the Fiji Government and especially the President of Fiji Rugby and Honorable Prime Minister for rewarding both the Teams for their achievements in the Olympic Games which the players have confirmed already receiving. He also thanked the Government for rewarding Jerry with the title for his land.
He also thanked Government and the Fiji National Sports Commission for assisting the Union in getting highly qualified professional coaches who develop our talented players to perform at international standard allowing players to win gold and bronze medal wins at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Gareth Baber’s Achievements:
2016/2017 World Rugby Sevens Series
- 2017 Hong Kong 7s Winner
2017/2018 World Rugby Sevens Series
- 2018 Hamilton 7s Winner
- 2018 Vancouver 7s Winner
- 2018 Hong Kong 7s Winner
- 2018 Singapore 7s Winner
- 2018 London 7s Winner
2018/2019 World Rugby Sevens Series
- HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Champions
- 2018 Cape Town 7s Winner
- 2019 Hamilton 7s Winner
- 2019 Hong Kong 7s Winner
- 2019 London 7s Winner
- 2019 Paris 7s Winner
2019/2020 World Rugby Sevens Series
- 2020 Sydney 7s Winner
- Olympic Gold Medal Winners