Thu, Jan 25, 2007 - Page 19 News List

`Human Skewer' replaces Wayne Pivac as Fiji coach

AFP AND AP , SUVA AND WELLINGTON

The Fiji Rugby Union has named former Wallaby flanker Ilivasi Tabua as national coach, handing him the task of lifting the country's fortunes with just eight months to go before the World Cup in France.

Tabua, who also played for Fiji during his career, takes over from New Zealander Wayne Pivac, who resigned to return home for family reasons.

Tabua, 42, said he did not feel anxious about the limited time he will have to work with the team before the World Cup in France.

"I think Fiji's in a strong position and I believe it doesn't matter who's head coach, the important thing is that things are in place on the ground," Tabua said after his appointment was announced.

running rugby

"Rugby's a running game and that's what we're good at, so obviously I'm going to be working on improving this aspect particularly," he said.

Fiji Rugby Union chairman Keni Dakuidreketi said Tabua was contracted until the end of the World Cup this year.

Tabua, who was known as the "Human Skewer" for his ferocious tackling, played in the World Cup for Australia in 1995 and in the Fijian side in the following tournament in 1999.

Most recently he was head coach of Fiji's high-performance unit and helped Pivac with the national team.

North Harbour

Pivac was yesterday named as coach of the North Harbour provincial team in New Zealand.

North Harbour chief executive Brett Hollister announced Pivac's appointment at the expense of incumbent coach Allan Pollock.

"With his outstanding provincial record and international experience he [Pivac] is sure to be a huge asset," Hollister said.

Pivac said he was excited to be coaching North Harbour.

"As a coach, it has always been an ambition of mine to coach a team that I once played for," he said.

Pivac will take up the position on Feb. 7.

Pivac's three-year tenure as Fiji coach was not without controversy and there was an attempt by some disgruntled Fijian rugby union board members to sack him following some heavy losses against Australia A last year.

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