28 Jan 2020

Sport: Vern Cotter named Fiji rugby coach

4:44 pm on 28 January 2020

New Zealander Vernon Cotter has been appointed as the new head coach of the Fiji national rugby side.

New Fiji rugby coach, Vern Cotter

New Fiji rugby coach, Vern Cotter Photo: Photosport

Cotter was forward coach at the Crusaders when they won Super Rugby championships in 2005 and 2006 and was head coach at Clermont when the French club won the Top 14 Championship in 2010.

He also coached Scotland for 36 tests.

He takes over the reins of the Flying Fijians after finishing his commitments with Montpellier where he has worked with Fijian players like Nemani Nadolo and Nemani Nagusa.

"I've been lucky enough to coach several Fijian players during my career here in France and I really appreciate what they bring naturally to the game," Cotter said.

The former Bay of Plenty coach, who led the province to its first Ranfurly Shield win, said he was looking forward to the opportunity of coaching the national side now.

"I'm really excited about getting this position with the Fijian Rugby Union as head coach of the Flying Fijians," he said.

"I've been really impressed with the people I've dealt with up until now and we all know the talent there is in Fiji and the good work that's been done up until now."

Cotter said he would work with everyone at Fiji Rugby to continue to develop and strengthen the national programmes and talent.

"Fiji Rugby has come a long way in the last few years and I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the talent within the national teams and enhance the competitiveness of Fiji on the world stage," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the people that have been integral in bringing Fijian Rugby forward at all grades - players, coaches and administration."

Fiji Rugby Chairman Francis Kean described the acquisition of Cotter as an investment and a coup for Fiji Rugby.

"Following an extensive recruitment process with many outstanding applications, the Board is pleased to have secured such an exceptional candidate," he said in Vern Cotter for the top job of Flying Fijians Head Coach" said Mr Kean.

"Mr Cotter presented a thorough and detailed plan to take the team to new levels of success and we were impressed by his vision and expectations of what can be achieved by the programme.

"We believe he will drive a culture of high-performance, fitness and discipline standards that are necessary to achieve success on the global stage."

Cotter's first test with the Fijians will be against Tonga on 4 July.

He replaces fellow New Zealander John Mckee.

Nemani Nadolo

Cotter coached the now-retired Fiji great Nemani Nadolo Photo: AFP