I am not interested in not winning games. We will get better, stronger, Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter says when asked about aspirations and targets for the Fiji men’s XVs’ for the remainder of his tenure with Fiji Rugby, starting with the June/July Tests this year.
Making his first official appearance at FRU office today, two years after signing on as Flying Fijians coach, Cotter spoke highly of the quantity of rugby played in open spaces across the country, having stopped over to watch some games at the Oceania 7s rugby in Lautoka as well as the Skipper Cup competition over the weekend as well as on the trip down to Suva from Nadi.
“We are going to get better at every game. Every time we are together we are going to become better. We are not messing around. I am not doing this for passing time. We want to do something. It’s process-driven. I am not making excuses. I am gonna put things in place. I am gonna go from there. I am not going to say anything, all I am saying is that we are going to get better. We will get better, we will get stronger, we will get faster and we will get mentally tougher and win games,” Cotter said.
On Thursday, Cotter will fly across to Australia in time to watch the Drua in action for their away game against the Rebels in Melbourne this weekend, and afterward hold meetings with the Fijian franchise team management regarding players, including access to players in view of the Flying Fijians’ commitments.
He was impressed with improvements shown by the Fijian Drua since their first game, injecting enthusiasm and a style of rugby that has been absent from the competition for a long time, adding that they “are a frightening team when they have the ball.”
After five rounds of competition, and having narrowly lost to the Force 18-20 over the weekend, Cotter says it is critical that the side wins more games. The Drua is ninth on the standings with a win from five outings.
Cotter also made special mention of some Fijian Drua players in the likes of Vinaya Habosi, the midfield combo of Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota, flanker Vilive Miramira, and fly-half Teti Tela who have impressed with the improvements they have been making since making their debut. He is hopeful that more players will step up and grow in the competition.
FRU CEO John O’Connor echoed Cotter sentiments about the World Cup, saying the Flying Fijians will want to be at the RWC not just to participate, “but to make an impact.”
FRU had appointed Cotter in January 2020, to coach the Flying Fijians through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.