RWC Diary Day 9 - Paul Feeney
07 September, 2011
|Paul Feeney at the Tauranga Domain ground. |
At the Tauranga Domain ground this afternoon an old Fiji Rugby friend from six or so years ago was down watching the Flying Fijians put the finishing touches to their training routine ahead of Saturday’s game against Namibia. Former Flying Fijians assistant coach Paul Feeney is now assistant coach of top provincial side Bay of Plenty who finished fourth in this year’s New Zealand national provincial championship – the ITM Cup.
Speaking with Feeney it was quite clear he was, and still is, greatly affected by his time coaching in Fiji and the experience is something he now carries with him all the time.
“Learning to talk to people from a different background, a different culture I think opened my eyes and helped me as a coach, and learning to work with people who are a bit more shy and don’t say what they think, I think, was really good,” Feeney said of his time in Fiji.
During his time in Fiji Feeney helped, then head coach, Wayne Pivac claim the Rugby World Cup 7s trophy in 2005, and it’s an event he rates as the greatest moment in his life.
“Just the whole episode of being involved in the World Cup 7s I think was really good. It’s the biggest moment in my life for rugby and always will be.”
“To see the joy in people’s faces taking that Cup in a 16 hour bus trip from Nadi down to Suva; that will always be the greatest moment of my life.”
Understandably Feeney remains a strong supporter of Fiji Rugby and, while he admits he doesn’t know too much about the current team, he believes the Flying Fijians, on their day, could be a real threat.
“I know they’ll be a dark horse, if they play well we all know that if the passes stick they could do anything,” Feeney said.
“I’m looking forward to going to the Wales game, wearing my Fijian number ones, I’ve still got them and I’ll wear them with pride, sing the old anthem ‘Blessing Grant O God of Nations’, they’re good boys and I wish them all the best.”
A few players still remain in the Flying Fijians from Feeney’s period with Fiji Rugby, most notably Nicky Little and Seremaia Bai, and the former provincial fullback was able to catch up with both players after training this afternoon.
Well within camp spirits are high with the team to be officially named tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:00 PM at a media conference at the team hotel. Prior to that, in the morning, the whole team will have their individual photos taken for the official Rugby World Cup match programme.
On Friday the team says goodbye to Tauranga as it heads for Rotorua – the venue city for Fiji’s opening game against Namibia.
Until tomorrow, moce mada. View the full interview with Paul Feeney. View the Flying Fijians RWC 2011 photo gallery.
Related articles: RWC Diary Day 7 - Tauranga RWC Diary Day 8 - Tauranga Marae