Fraser and Mumm reunite for Fiji
02 November, 2010
The successful coaching duo of Greg Mumm and Shannon Fraser have reunited for the first time since helping guide the Flying Fijians to the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
|Shannon Fraser with the Flying Fijians in Suva. |
While Mumm’s been in the country since last week Fraser arrived last Sunday night and already he’s brought salvation of sorts with a mild tropical depression following him into the country - bringing sweet relief to a country suffering a drought and thirsty.
Rugby fans will no doubt be hoping he has an equally miraculous effect on the Flying Fijians performance ahead of a tour that will give the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) some idea of where it currently stands in rugby’s world order.
“I’d say one year out from the World Cup we’re in a better position now than we were in 2007 just one month from the World Cup,” Fraser said.
“There’s a better understanding of what’s required in the set pieces and in the consequences of understanding each action and decision being made during the game as opposed to the helter-skelter method of playing the game.”
Despite now coaching Japan club side NTT Communications – which he’s taken from being a mid table division two side to the top four in the Japanese first division – Fraser has kept a close eye on the performance of Fijian players around the globe.
“There are guys playing some really good rugby at the moment like Michael Tagicakibau at Saracens and Albert Vulivuli for Racing Metro (92).”
However Fraser has noted it’s not just the youngsters who are putting their hands up with some of the old hands also showing good form.
“Seru Rabeni and Norman Ligairi look as if they’ve turned back the clock with the way they’re playing at the moment and particularly Norman – I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play as well as he’s playing right now. Wame Lewaravu’s also playing very well for Sale while Ifereimi Rawaqa’s still contributing immensely.”
Fraser will head back to Japan, on his return from Europe with the Flying Fijians, to complete his club contract which runs through until the end of March.
“By May I should be back in Fiji to continue preparations for the Rugby World Cup.”
The 32 year old Fraser started his rugby career in New South Wales as a scrumhalf for premier grade side Parramatta and went on to represent New South Wales Country Cockatoos and the Waratah Academy side. However aged 24 Fraser turned to coaching and hasn’t looked back since.
“I took to coaching at a fairly young age, perhaps it might have been due to my lack of ability as a player - I’m not sure, what I do know is I thoroughly enjoy the job.”
His early coaching prowess eventually brought him to the attention of the Waratahs where he became the kicking and skills coach for the then Super 12 franchise side from 2006-08.
It was while he was at the Waratahs he took up the task of assistant backline coach for the Flying Fijians to the 2007 Rugby World Cup
Showing real commitment to the cause Fraser, who married In July 2007 - just prior to the World Cup, put on hold his honeymoon until after the tournament. While we’re not too sure what Fraser’s partner must have made of the situation the FRU, and no doubt Shannon, was appreciative of her understanding.