O'Connor calls for patience as Gollings heads to Fiji as the new sevens head coach

Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O’Connor has asked for patience from the country’s rugby fans following the appointment of former England sevens star Ben Gollings as the new head coach of the Olympic Games gold medal winning sevens team.

Gollings is the third successive overseas coach to hold the position with the previous two – Ben Ryan and Gareth Baber – having guided the squad to gold medal success at the Olympic Games in Rio and Japan.

O’Connor told The Fiji Times that most of the applicants for the head coach job were expatriates and said: “About 30 applicants were received and mostly expatriates. We shortlisted seven and from the FRU’s point of view, we appointed the person on merit and being the best person for the job based on the outcome of the interview and so forth.”

Ryan and Baber are World Rugby Level 3, sevens coaches while in Fiji, local coaches Saiasi Fuli, Timoci Volavola and Apenisa Nasilasila have WR and FRU Level 2, sevens coach accreditation.

Gollings is on his way to Fiji to take up his role and O’Connor said: “We thank all the supporters for their support. This is about the learnings as we move on. We thank those who make comments and criticise the team because that makes us stronger. At times it is motivation for the players to prove themselves.

“These players are human beings and they are the ones who are demoralised when the team loses.It is them who are out on the field. We have a young team, but we have senior players such as Jerry Tuwai, who continue to encourage the younger players.

“Jerry will make the big difference with the young players. He will be available for the next two series.mWe ask the public to be patient, especially for the men’s sevens team.

“We know the players will learn and become better players in the next leg.”

The Fiji sevens team’s next targets are the Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup Sevens titles.