23 Sep 2008

Pacific Islanders rugby union side loses top coach

11:14 am on 23 September 2008

The Pacific Islanders rugby union side has suffered a setback with the announcement that head coach Ilivasi Tabua has stood down.

The annoucement was confirmed by the Pacific Rugby Ltd Chairman, Keni Dakuidreketi.

Tabua was to have taken the squad to Europe for Tests against England, France and Italy, but cited unforeseen personal circumstances for his decision not to Tour.

In announcing the news, Dakuidreketi complimented Tabua.

"It's a tribute to Ili for making this decision as I know he was looking forward to the challenge of coaching the Pacific Islanders side in Tests against England, France and Italy."

The Tour demanded significant time on the part of the Head Coach and his back up staff and in the end Ili decided he was not able to give it his full and total commitment.

Quddus Fielea, who was to have been the PI's backline coach, has now been appointed as Tabua's replacement.

Dakuidrekti says Fielea is the Head Coach of Tonga and no stranger to the pressures of Test match rugby.

Two additional appointments for the Tour which starts on November 2nd were also announced. Former Wallaby backs coach Glen Ella has been brought in to replace Fielea in his backline role.

Ella, who played four Tests for the Wallabies between 1982 and 1985, has an extensive coaching background at the fifteen-a-side and seven's level.

He is currently part of the Fijian High Performance set up.

John McKee was also appointed to the squad as specialist skills coach. He has coached extensively in Europe and Australia.