by Gary Anderson
March 26, 2014 (ISN) – Former Fiji national seven’s coach Iliesa Tanivula has been put in temporary charge of the country’s women’s side for the upcoming China Sevens tournament next month after current coach Timoci Wainiqolo had to pull out because of work commitments.
Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) official Talei Mow revealed Tanivula will take charge of the side on an interim basis while Wainiqolo is away and will be in control for the next round of the International Rugby Board (IRB) Women’s Sevens World Series in Guangzhou on April 5 and 6.
The former New Zealand player, 38, took over the Fijian men’s side in 2009 and led the team to gold at that year’s World Games in Kaohsiung.
That, however was overshadowed by a disappointing performance at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai when Fiji, the defending champions, were beaten by Kenya in the quarter-finals.
Despite a World Series win in Murrayfield later that year, Fiji failed to win another tournament under Tanivula, who was eventually relived of his duties as head coach by the FRU in April 2011.
But Fiji’s team manager Selita Koroi has revealed that Tanivula’s training methods have boosted the side’s preparation for Guangzhou and confidence is high in the squad.
“The girls are in good spirits and they are preparing very well,” said Koroi.
“Tanivula has given them time to talk after training sessions and drills and this is something new for the girls but it’s something they need.
“The girls want to give their feedback and they have been given a chance to do that and it’s something that makes things easier to be understood.
“We are all focused on Guangzhou and doing everything with a positive mind-set.
“Everyone is looking forward to the tournament and it will be tough but we are going with a positive attitude.”
Iliesa Tanivula’s training methods have been welcomed by the Fiji women’s team as they prepare for Guangzhou ©AFP/Getty Images
Fiji have had a disappointing season so far however and currently lie in 12th place on the overall standings with just two tournaments left to play.
Despite a promising start at the season opening Dubai Sevens back in November, where Fiji defeated France in the Bowl Final, the side has subsequently failed to register any points at events in Atlanta and São Paulo.
Following the action in China the Women’s World Series moves onto the final leg in Amsterdam on May 16 and 17.